Who can participate in the campaign and if so, in what capacity?
Yes, women and men from campaigns around the world are organizing this project. The names of our partners are on our website (www.freedomflotilla.org). Within this struggle, women and men play equal roles.
What is the Freedom Flotilla Coalition? Which countries are participating?
The Freedom Flotilla Coalition is composed of civil society organizations and initiatives from many countries. We have been challenging the illegal and inhumane Israeli blockade of Gaza for many years and are committed to continuing the struggle until the blockade is unconditionally lifted and Palestinian people everywhere realize their full rights.
The Freedom Flotilla Coalition campaigns participating in the 2018 Gaza Freedom Flotilla include: Ship to Gaza-Sweden, Ship to Gaza-Norway, Canadian Boat to Gaza, Freedom Flotilla-Italy, Palestine Solidarity Alliance-South Africa, Rumbo a Gaza-Spain, International Committee to Break the Siege of Gaza, US Boat to Gaza, Kia Ora Gaza-New Zealand-Aotearoa and Free Gaza —Australia, Ship to Gaza-Malaysia.
Watch this space as more campaigns join us.
Why is the Freedom Flotilla Coalition challenging the Israeli blockade by sea?
The Freedom Flotilla Coalition has been challenging the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza in several different ways for six years, while other organizations have importantly been challenging the land blockade of Gaza and other groups are challenging Israeli policies through Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns.
You say your campaign supports the full rights of the Palestinian people: what are they?
While our focus is on opposing the blockade against the Palestinian people of Gaza, we see this in the larger context of supporting the right to freedom of movement for all Palestinians. The Occupation daily violates the rights of Palestinians to move freely around their country and to leave and return to their country, as guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We also support other broad-based demands for Palestinian rights based on International Law, including:
- Ending the Israeli Occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Apartheid Wall;
- Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
- Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194 of 11 December 1948.
For information about the devastating effects of the blockade, please click here.
Why is the Israeli blockade of Gaza illegal?
Israel has occupied the Gaza Strip since 1967 and, as the occupying force, it is responsible for the well-being of the population within this territory. Experts warn that if the siege of Gaza continues, normal life will not be viable in the territory by 2020. The current blockade has been imposed for ten years by Israel and Egypt, with support from many international governments. The blockade has imposed restrictions of movement on people and goods for more than a decade. By applying restrictive measures that affect the population as a whole, it violates the Geneva Conventions and International Humanitarian international laws, which prohibit collective punishment.
Is the 2018 Gaza Freedom Flotilla a non-violent initiative?
Yes, our goal is to peacefully end the illegal Israeli blockade. Every initiative that the Freedom Flotilla Coalition has launched has been grounded theoretically and practically within the framework of non-violence. We choose to always counter oppression using non-violent strategies.
How many boats will participate in the 2018 Gaza Freedom Flotilla and where will they depart from?
This has not yet been determined, but our boats will stop at several ports in the Mediterranean Sea, before heading towards Gaza, in order to raise awareness about the terrible effects of the illegal Israeli blockade of the Palestinian people of Gaza. Stay tuned for a stop near you!
When will the 2018 Gaza Freedom Flotilla sail?
We plan to sail in the summer of 2018 and will stop at several ports in the Mediterranean Sea, before heading towards Gaza.
What will be the names of the boats?
Through an international competition, the names for the boats will be selected.
Who will be on board?
In the next months, national campaigns will submit nominees and an international delegate selection committee will make the final selection of participants. We will select participants from around the world, who will represent politicians, media, cultural artists and activists.
Will you be bringing aid to Gaza?
No, the mission of the boats is to break the illegal blockade against Gaza not to ameliorate it. Since no material aid is being provided, Israeli cannot claim the ships are bringing contraband.
What is the current situation on the ground in Gaza?
The United Nations has described it recently as “intolerable.”
Since 2007, Israel has ravaged agricultural fields, schools, workplaces, hospitals, water supplies, electricity and homes throughout the Gaza Strip, depriving Palestinian people in Gaza the resources they need to live. The Israeli Occupation Forces have even made swimming in the Mediterranean unhealthy because their bombs have destroyed the local sewage system. Nearly 2 million Palestinian people struggle for life in Gaza, with 72% of Palestinians living in Gaza, 65% of whom are children, suffering food insecurity.
Are there any risks for those participating?
There are always risks whenever the illegal actions of the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) are challenged, something the Palestinian people in Gaza live with every day. In 2010, the IOF killed nine unarmed civilians aboard the Mavi Marmara, and a tenth later died of his injuries. We will have no weapons, and our boats will be inspected before sailing. However, the IOF has a record of treating passengers on boats headed for Gaza with violent force. Several previous missions have ended with the boats being captured, and the people on board taken against their will to Israel where they have been imprisoned and then deported with a 10-year ban on entering Israel, which means that participants cannot go to the West Bank.
How will the 2018 Boats be funded?
Each of the participating campaigns are raising funds in their own countries and communities, by connecting with individuals and organizations who support our effort. The Freedom Flotilla Coalition is not affiliated with any political organization. We are a network of grassroots civil society individuals and groups. Any donation is welcome, no matter how small. We see our action as representing all those who refuse to remain silent and thereby complicit.
How does the 2018 Gaza Freedom Flotilla fit with the current refugee crisis and the many people traveling across the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe?
We see the refugee problem stemming from a lack of political will to solve situations which force people to leave their homes in search of safety. The Palestinian people of Gaza do not even have the option to set sail towards freedom, as the Israeli Occupation Forces blockade their access to the Mediterranean Sea. Let us not forget that 5 million of the world’s refugees are Palestinians.
How can I participate?
There are many ways to become involved. You could share information with your family, friends and/or work colleagues; organize a fundraising event, join one of our work teams or make a donation through any of the campaigns participating in the project. Please follow us on the web, Facebook or Twitter. If you are willing to support the campaign and its political demands, please contact the campaign closest to you.