September, Cigdem Topçuoglu, whose husband was killed by Israel on board of Mavi Marmara in 2010, will be sailing with women from all over the world on the Freedom Flotilla Coalition’s latest mission, the Women’s Boat to Gaza (WBG). Ms. Topçuoglu’s action symbolizes Freedom Flotilla Coalition’s (FFC) position regarding the Israeli blockade of Gaza. It must be fully and unconditionally lifted.
The Gaza Strip is the largest open air prison in the world. More than 1.8M persons have been living under an inhuman an illegal Israeli blockade since 2007. The blockade is killing Gaza. Five UN special rapporteurs found that the blockade of Gaza is illegal collective punishment.
MK Haneen Zoabi, who participated in the 2010 on board the Mavi Marmara, said that the reconciliation agreement between the two countries is a clear “admission of murder” by Israel. Ms. Zoabi called for more flotillas in order to remove “the criminal siege on Gaza”.
Laura Arau, an organizer with the FFC and herself a Mavi Marmara passenger said, “Keep in mind that the FFC is not affiliated with any government or political party,” and made a call to civil society: “Nothing can justify the suffering of the families of the activists who were murdered on board the Mavi Marmara in 2010 nor the daily violations of the human rights in Palestine. We, people of the world, must take action when our governments remain silent and are complicit to war crimes.”
Husein Oruç, member of IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation and also an organizer with the FFC, said that “all the participants, all the families, all the members of Mavi Marmara are saying we are not looking for apologies, we are not looking for compensation.Our main purpose for going to Gaza was to end the blockade. If the agreement does not have this, it is unacceptable.”
In mid September the Women’s Boat to Gaza will sail with the same goal which is to break the illegal and inhumane blockade of Gaza. The Freedom Flotilla will continue until the port of Gaza is open, and Palestinians of Gaza have the ability to fish, to import and export freely, and to lead a normal life without daily fear and suffering. Norwegian organizer Gerd von der Lippe asserts that “the Freedom Flotilla will continue to sail until the illegal and inhumane blockade of Gaza is permanently lifted.”