This week a lovingly renovated ship was blown up in Gaza’s Harbour by ‘unknown attackers’. Gaza’s Ark was set to export Palestinian products from the besieged Strip to Europe for the first time since 1994.
“Gaza’s Ark and all our partners in the Freedom Flotilla Coalition are considering our next move in response to this cowardly act of terrorism,” David Heap of Gaza’s Ark Steering Committee said in the statement.
“But our position remains clear: Neither this nor any other attack will stop our efforts to challenge the blockade of Gaza until it ends.”
Israel is proud of its use of violence, threats and sabotage against non violent missions, such as this. As a sailor with the Freegaza Movement in 2008, I remember the Mossad Hipsters that tried to board our ships in several Cypriot ports. They were, we suspected, trying to plant something onboard to discredit the solidarity effort. In Israel’s eyes, until Gaza’s people collapse into an abyss of hopelessness or else accept that their land is no longer their own, they must be collectively punished; denied the right to move, safely educate their children or live free from detention and violent attack.
I remember the hate-filled death threats received by family members of Freegaza sailors. Israel’s hidden network of seething phone terrorists at play. The unseen cowards who call at all hours to hiss things like ‘Don’t get on board or we’ll kill your family’ and ‘Can your Mum swim little girl – better hope so!’
In 2011, Freegaza ships in Greece suffered set backs of which Israel not only claimed but boasted of its responsibility. Ships disabled in port or at sea. Teachers, nurses, students. parents, concerned citizens of the world put at real risk. And why? So that Gaza’s people should remain collectively punished and as cut off from world assistance and solidarity as possible.
The Ark was in the port of Gaza in readiness to set sail in June. Now its condition is described as ‘extensively damaged.’ Whether and when the boat can be repaired is something we will not know for sure until it can be pulled out of the water for inspection.
Awad said he had been warned to leave the area by an anonymous caller. “I was [sleeping] near the boat and someone phoned me — an unidentified caller. I answered and he told me: ‘Mustafa, leave the boat right now because we are going to blow it up.’”
Project manager Mahfouz Kabariti, says; “we are convinced Israel did it because we were preparing for a test run next week, with the main voyage planned for June 15.”
Gaza’s Ark has launched an international petition calling on the UN to act to lift the blockade. The appeal has been signed by parliamentarians, Nobel Laureates, and prominent figures internationally.
I urge you to respond to this latest cowardly attack on non violent action and this attempt to destroy hope, by signing, sharing and re-sharing their petition: