In late 2008, the “Free Gaza” movement sent a boat of humanitarian aid to Gaza. The boat carried a delegation of politicians and humanitarian workers, including former US Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. In dramatic fashion, the boat tried to outmaneuver the Israeli military boats (where was Bond?) blockading the beleaguered Gaza coast. A collision ensued and the boat was forced to go to Lebanon after taking on water. The event garnered international attention and reminded the world about the illegal Israeli blockade. Earlier that year, Free Gaza landed two ships to the Palestinian coast, the first in 41 years.
[tweetmeme] And Israeli thought one boat was bad. Later this spring, Free Gaza and the Turkish IHH Humanitarian Relief Organization is planning on sending a modern day humanitarian Armada to Gaza (hopefully the weather will cooperate*). The fleet will include two cargo ships full of generators and educational materials as well as construction supplies – all of which are considered illegal and are denied to the Gazan people by Israel. The cargo ships are to by accompanied by other boats carrying journalists, human rights activists and politicians from around the world.
The humanitarian Armada** is meant to not only get supplies to Gaza, but also to raise international attention to the illegality of Israeli actions and policies towards the West Bank and, particularly, Gaza. Anti-apartheid activists from South Africa are planning on joining as well as a fleet sent by Hugo Chavez. Organizations from Greece, Ireland and Sweden have promised to send boats as well.
*History joke, anyone…?
** Yeah, I realize Spain lost the original Armada and the Spain was the big bad guy and England was the underdog. So…the Armada is a terrible historical comparison, but I’m sticking to it.
Photo from Dover Kent.