GAZA — Not long after the 2018 Freedom Flotilla — carrying “politicians, activists, journalists, trade-union leaders, artists and performers, professors, faith leaders, representatives of student organizations” — embarked on its journey from Scandinavia to the largest open-air prison in the world — Gaza — Israel attempted to thwart its plans by striking a boat in Gaza City that was preparing to meet the flotilla upon its arrival.
No casualties have been reported from the Israeli attack this Wednesday.
The 2018 Freedom Flotilla is part of a movement to demonstrate solidarity with Gaza, in an attempt to break Israel’s illegal blockade by transporting activists to the Strip, drawing international media attention to the humanitarian crisis there in the process. This year’s flotilla hopes its voyage “will open the channels for others to travel to Palestine and, more importantly, for the Palestinian people to use their own territorial waters for fishing, other maritime resources, travel, exports and imports.”
The flotilla plans to donate its boats to the local community upon arrival. Israel began enforcing the illegal blockade of Gaza in 2006, after the Palestinian Authority lost the election to Hamas, as punishment to Palestinians.
The flotilla has plans to stop at ports in Germany, Holland, Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal and Italy. According to passenger and Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity-member Elizabeth Murray, the flotilla hopes “to raise awareness and educate people about the plight of Palestinians, especially in Gaza, who are denied the basic freedoms and human rights the rest of us take for granted.”