Jul 18 2011
Pro-Palestinian activists on board a French yacht have sailed from a Greek island and hope to breach Israel’s blockade of Gaza, despite it’s internationally recognized legal right to enforce the blockade.
M&C – The Dignity/Karama sailed from the Greek island Kastellorizo at 8:30 pm local time Saturday, a statement by Free Gaza, one of the organizers of the Freedom Flotilla II, said in a statement sent to journalists Sunday. It is carrying 10 activists, three journalists and three crew members.
Six of the activists are French, including French Communist Party member Jacqueline Le Corre, who were joined by a Tunisian, a Greek, a Swede and a Canadian. The journalists are Amira Hass of the Israeli Far Left Wing Haáretz daily and a reporter and cameraman from al-Jazeera.
Free Gaza and other pro-Palestinian groups had planned to send some 10 ship with hundreds of activists to Gaza, but their plans were foiled after Greece, responding to intense Israeli diplomacy, blocked the ships from sailing to the blockaded territory from its ports.
The Dignity/Karama which had sailed from Corsica on June 25, and theport of Sitia in Crete last Wednesday, however was allowed to sail from Kastellorizo, because, the organizers said, the island is sympathetic with Gaza, as many of its population took refuge there there during World War II. The island’s mayor, Paul Panigiris, was born in Gaza, and feels strongly about the issue, said the organizers.
‘The ten passengers on board view themselves as representatives of the whole Freedom Flotilla II – Stay Human,’ said the Free Gaza statement, after the rest of the flotilla’s ships have been detained in Greek ports.
‘It is a message to the Israeli government, to the international community and to the besieged people of Gaza: The Free Gaza Movement and the coalition of Freedom Flotilla II are not giving up until the inhumane and illegitimate blockade of Gaza is lifted. Gaza, we are coming!’ it said.