Why Ship to Gaza is sailing again

Activism

On May 9th, the trawler Marianne of Gothenburg departed from its home port heading for the Eastern Mediterranean and Gaza. Ship to Gaza Sweden and Norway have joined forces with the international Freedom Flotilla to once again to attempt to peacefully break the inhumane, illegal blockade of the besieged Palestinian population on that narrow coastal strip between Israel and Egypt.

There is one obvious objection: don’t we need boats for other purposes in the Mediterranean?

People are being forced to run for their lives from war and persecution in the Middle East and North Africa. Cynical traffickers are cashing in on highly hazardous transportations in unseaworthy vessels. In another part of the region–Gaza–people aren’t even able to flee from their bombed-out homes. The Israeli/Egyptian siege is virtually complete.

In that way, the catastrophe on the Mediterranean and the catastrophic blockade of Gaza are related. Both are caused by misanthropic policies, despotic regimes, crumbling states. Both are caused by an “international community” that prefers to look the other way rather than take its responsibility. In this situation, humanitarian organizations like Ship to Gaza and Doctors Without Borders are forced to act by sending boats to Tripoli and Gaza City in the name of salvaging and defending human dignity.

Another objection is as predictable as the spam in our in-boxes: Isn’t the blockade of Gaza caused by the fact that the area is governed by Hamas, which Israel and Egypt need to defend themselves from? That is the message being trumpeted out by the Israeli right-wing government and its megaphones. Recently in a May 4th editorial in Dagens Nyheter, with a headline that could be translated as “Increase pressure on Hamas,” the editor repeated a rhetorical depiction that has become mantra in the paper’s Middle East reporting: turning the primary issue into a secondary one, and vice versa. To put it plainly: the main problem is not the Israeli/Egyptian blockade; rather it is the Hamas government. The blockade and the Israeli occupation are re-framed as a secondary issue. Accordingly, it then follows that the Israeli wars are not waged on the 1.7 million Palestinians, but on Hamas.

The fallacy of this worldview becomes painfully clear when hearing testimony that the Israeli organization Breaking the Silence has collected and to which global media has referred recently (DN again on 5 May). In it, Israeli soldiers report that they were given express orders to not distinguish between military and civilian targets when the attack on Gaza was initiated on July 17 last year. In that way, DN is right: in Israeli war terminology “Hamas” is just another word for anything Palestinian, any living thing in Gaza.

It is no coincidence that Ship to Gaza is sailing a fishing boat to Gaza this time. The blockade, which will enter its ninth year this year, deprives the besieged population of the freedom of movement, trade, health care, food security, education and future hope. Palestinian fishermen, who are forbidden by the Israeli occupation authorities to sail beyond a three-nautical-mile zone, are subjected to daily harassment, shelling and confiscation of their boats.

Just like in Ship to Gaza’s action with Estelle in 2012, Marianne will stop at ports during its voyage, holding events to build public opinion. After Gothenburg, and Malmo/Copenhagen we are now continuing down the European coast. Marianne will join other ships in the Freedom Flotilla in the Eastern Mediterranean and then sail together toward Gaza City. In order to enable a just peace and for the Palestinian state that Sweden and many other countries have recognized to have a chance to function, Ship to Gaza demands that:

1. the siege is lifted immediately;
2. the port in Gaza City is opened and made functional; and
3. safe transportation routes between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are secured

English translation by Christopher Pastorella

About Ann Ighe and Mikael Löfgren

Ann Ighe and Mikael Löfgren are members of Ship to Gaza.

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13 Responses

  1. amigo
    May 19, 2015, 11:29 am

    “The blockade and the Israeli occupation are re-framed as a secondary issue. Accordingly, it then follows that the Israeli wars are not waged on the 1.7 million Palestinians, but on Hamas. ”

    Well , not according top Israel,s new Justice minister.

    “What’s so horrifying about understanding that the entire Palestinian people is the enemy? Every war is between two peoples, and in every war the people who started the war, that whole people, is the enemy. A declaration of war is not a war crime. Responding with war certainly is not. Nor is the use of the word “war”, nor a clear definition who the enemy is. Au contraire: the morality of war (yes, there is such a thing) is founded on the assumption that there are wars in this world, and that war is not the normal state of things, and that in wars the enemy is usually an entire people, including its elderly and its women, its cities and its villages, its property and its infrastructure. – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/05/netanyahu-palestinians-government#sthash.iZO2g777.dpuf

    • CigarGod
      May 20, 2015, 9:23 am

      That quote makes me shudder everytime i read it.

    • eljay
      May 20, 2015, 9:39 am

      What’s so horrifying about understanding that the entire Palestinian people is the enemy? Every war is between two peoples, and in every war the people who started the war, that whole people, is the enemy. A declaration of war is not a war crime. Responding with war certainly is not. Nor is the use of the word “war”, nor a clear definition who the enemy is. Au contraire: the morality of war (yes, there is such a thing) is founded on the assumption that there are wars in this world, and that war is not the normal state of things, and that in wars the enemy is usually an entire people, including its elderly and its women, its cities and its villages, its property and its infrastructure.

      And yet you can bet your bottom dollar that a hateful and immoral Zio-supremacist hypocrite like Ms. Shaked would not for a second consider acceptable:
      – a declaration of war on all Jewish people;
      – war against all Jewish people under the guise of morality;
      – branding all Jewish people as enemies; and
      – the destruction of everything belonging to Jewish people.

  2. just
    May 19, 2015, 11:38 am

    “in Israeli war terminology “Hamas” is just another word for anything Palestinian, any living thing in Gaza.”

    That’s it, in a nutshell. Well done!

    “People are being forced to run for their lives from war and persecution in the Middle East and North Africa. Cynical traffickers are cashing in on highly hazardous transportations in unseaworthy vessels. In another part of the region–Gaza–people aren’t even able to flee from their bombed-out homes. The Israeli/Egyptian siege is virtually complete.

    In that way, the catastrophe on the Mediterranean and the catastrophic blockade of Gaza are related. Both are caused by misanthropic policies, despotic regimes, crumbling states. Both are caused by an “international community” that prefers to look the other way rather than take its responsibility.”

    The linkage is undeniable. Thank you for stating it so well.

    Ship to Gaza’s 2nd demand that “2. the port in Gaza City is opened and made functional” is a good one, but I seriously doubt that the news report this morning, “Israel conducting talks with Hamas about possible floating port for Gaza” is proof that Israel is planning anything that amounts to justice or freedom for the Palestinians of Gaza! Here’s part of the report:

    “Israel is conducting talks with Hamas about the possible construction of a floating port between Turkish Cyprus and the Gaza coast that would allow goods to be transferred the Palestinian coastal territory, the Jordanian daily Ad-Dustour reported Tuesday, quoting Western diplomatic sources.

    According to the report, the talks, described as direct, have been ongoing in various European capitals with guarantees provided by Turkey, which has also been trying to advance dialogue between the two sides.

    The report also noted an idea to expand Gazan territory into the Sinai Peninsula. The report does not quote any source by name, and has not been confirmed by either Israel or Hamas.

    It should be noted that since Operation Protective Edge, headlines have surfaced claiming that Hamas and Israel have been in contact through international mediation from the UN and Qatar with regards to a long-term truce in exchange for lifting some of the restrictions on the Gaza Strip, which might also include the construction of a seaport in the Gaza seas. But none of those contacts has amounted to anything that could be called an agreement.

    According to international officials, Israel is in no rush to reach understandings as long as it is free from obligations and quiet remains in the south. Moreover, Israel currently has almost exclusive control on what enters the Gaza Strip, without commitment, and sees no reason to sign some kind of binding agreement or understandings in exchange for Hamas’ guarantee for quiet.”…

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.657209?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

    Call me cynical, but I don’t believe everything that I read. It is through actions such as yours, (and the former actions of the Flotillas and others) that justice and freedom for the Palestinian people will come. It must be imposed upon Israel. It cannot be done from within Israel, that much is clear and has been apparent for nearly 7 decades now.

    So thank you Ann Ighe, Mikael Löfgren, and your fellow travelers on the good ship Marianne of Gothenburg. Thanks also to Christopher Pastorella for the translation to english.

    Fair winds and following seas to all.

  3. ivri
    May 19, 2015, 6:10 pm

    The point is that what is sensational and attention attracting when new may later become a non-event. You can bet that the dramatic events that followed previous attempts will not repeat themselves. I find it hard to believe that Israel will succumb to “the demands” of these political voyagers and I also believe that the whole episode will pass this time barely noticed. Surely, there will not be a violent overtaking scene, as in the past – a mini superpower must be able to find more creative and intelligent ways to deal a civilian ship. So, as an example, would I be utterly surprised if at some point in the cruise the engine of the ship will “mysteriously” fail? I don`t think so. If that happens there will be of course “dramatic” pleas for help from the voyagers – but would I be surprised if nobody would paid attention? I don`t think so. The world has no patience and attention-slack left for such childishly fabricated “dramas”.

    • CigarGod
      May 20, 2015, 9:33 am

      That quote makes me shudder everytime i read it.

      • CigarGod
        May 20, 2015, 9:59 am

        Sorry, Annie. This is a duplicate and may be removed.

    • just
      May 20, 2015, 10:13 am

      @ ivri “The world has no patience and attention-slack left for such childishly fabricated “dramas”.”

      “Israeli navy forces fire at Gaza fishermen
      GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 18 May — Israeli navy forces on Monday opened fire at Palestinian fishermen off the coast of northern Gaza”, – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/05/abolish-jerusalem-settler#sthash.P03Zrxgm.dpuf

      “PCHR Weekly Report on Israeli human rights violations in the oPt (7-13 May 2015) Shootings During the reporting period, Israeli forces wounded 18 Palestinian civilians, including 4 children and 3 photojournalists, in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Eleven civilians were wounded in the West Bank, 9 of whom, including 2 children and 3 photojournalists, were wounded during peaceful protests, while the other 7 ones, including a child and 4 fishermen, were wounded in the Gaza Strip” – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/05/israeli-military-protests#sthash.RYpSMWSh.dpuf

      “Soldiers open fire on farmers and fishers in Gaza IMEMC/Agencies 16 May — Israeli soldiers opened fire, on Saturday morning, on Palestinian farmers in their own lands, east of the al-Maghazi refugee camp, in central Gaza, while navy ships opened fire on fishing boats in southern Gaza”. – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/05/israeli-military-protests#sthash.RYpSMWSh.dpuf

      Just a tiny sample of your horrible and “childishly fabricated “dramas”” from the last few days. Oh and btw, they are all violations of the “ceasefire” that Israel constantly breaks.

      • ivri
        May 20, 2015, 11:07 am

        @just
        Why don`t you read also the positive news?
        There are continual talks between Israel and Hamas (secretly though) on all kinds of cooperation agreements.
        Israel now also allows import of building material to Gaza and they are used for civilian purposes (not digging tunnels).
        There is a split in Hamas between the political wing and the military wing where the former advocates accommodation with Israel, realistically so given present-day general circumstances.
        Gaza may end ep going the West-Bank way in practical truce with Israel in Gaza and shift to civilian efforts – relinquishing grandiose but imaginary (and costly) struggles and instead doing what the population there really needs. That is, coming to terms, at long last, with realities.
        Now where do the political voyagers from N. Europe, which come “to save” Gaza, fit in here?

      • Rob Roy
        May 20, 2015, 5:48 pm

        Thank you, just. ivri (below) says you should also read the positive news. There isn’t any unless it’s propaganda. Of course there are some people working within for positive outcomes on a level not including the government. But if ivri thinks for a minute that Israel wants to cooperate with Hamas in resolution of anything, he hasn’t been paying attention for nearly seven decades. Notice he said, “Israel now also allows import of building supplies…” ALLOWS? The fact that Palestinians have to be “allowed” by Israel to build on their own land is disgusting in itself. Israel has broken the Geneva Conventions laws and should be in international court for its crimes. When people think “negotiations” are fair when there are two sides, they have no understanding that there aren’t two equal sides. One has all the power; that must be what people like ivri call “coming to terms with reality.” That is why the rest of the world must support BDS and flotillas and any other means by which to call attention to this dreadful apartheid that is actually worse than it was in S. Africa’s. The IDF is commiting genocide on the Palestinians. That is their goal. Otherwise, why don’t they just let them be free and live in peace?

  4. Bornajoo
    May 19, 2015, 7:03 pm

    “So thank you Ann Ighe, Mikael Löfgren, and your fellow travelers on the good ship Marianne of Gothenburg. Thanks also to Christopher Pastorella for the translation to english.”

    Please allow me to follow that elegant statement!

    What you are doing is amazing

  5. truth2power
    May 20, 2015, 2:46 pm

    I think this is wonderful! Anyone doing anything to help other people have a better life (and doesn’t hurt others in the doing) is always good, isn’t it? I hope they will succeed and be safe in the succeeding. God bless them x

  6. Froggy
    May 20, 2015, 8:53 pm

    Please bring food for the infants, children, and adults with PKU.

    http://mondoweiss.net/2015/05/prevents-children-receiving

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