Foreign Minister Børge Brende
4 October 2016
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
N-0032 OSLO

Women’s Boat to Gaza must be allowed to come to Gaza without being hijacked by Israel.

Women’s Boat to Gaza, named Zaytouna-Oliva, is now on its way to Gaza, with estimated arrival on Thursday 6 October. On board are 13 women, who will show their solidarity with the women in Gaza. They come from six continents, and among them are Norwegian Synne Sofie Reksten. The most famous of the participants is Mairead Maguire, who in 1976 received the Nobel Peace Prize.

They will show their Palestinian sisters that they are not at all forgotten, despite the fact that Western governments and media actually do not care about Israel breaking international law through its blockade of Gaza or the daily attacks on Gaza by Israeli army and navy. They will break the suppression, give hope to Gaza’s women, and undertake the task that Western governments fail to address: Put pressure on the Israeli government to stop the illegal blockade.

The cargo they bring with them are not of material nature; it consists of themselves as representatives of all those throughout the world who care about the fate of the trapped 1.9 million inhabitants of the Gaza Strip, the majority children.

Israeli navy usually hijack such peaceful solidarity boats in international waters, arresting everyone on board, and bring the boat to an Israeli port – contrary to all marine law. We appeal now to you, as Norway’s Foreign Minister, to ask Israel not to hijack this solidarity boat and request that international law is respected. As a seafaring nation, Norway must of course oppose that boats are hijacked in international waters. The UN agency UNRWA concluded in 2012 in its report “Gaza in 2020 – A livable place?” that Gaza was about to become a place where it is impossible for people to live. The chief of Israel’s military intelligence, Herzl Halevi, endorsed in February this assessment. The report notes that Israel’s blockade has much of the blame for this situation.

These 13 women emphasize particularly the fact that Gaza’s women do an impressive effort in order to make the entire population able to resist occupation and suffering. They are a vital force in order to build a society where people can live.

We hope that the Foreign Minister will accommodate our request.

With best regards

Gerd von der Lippe              Torstein Dahle
Deputy leader STGN            Leader STGN