Twenty activists set sail for Gaza from the northern Swedish city of Umea on board the Estelle ship at a ceremony joined by hundreds of people in a festive environment on June 20. The peace activists from the countries of Sweden, Finland, Norway, Canada, Spain, the United States, Greece and Israel include musicians, journalists, academics and lawmakers.
The activists who hope to reach in Gaza on Oct.20 voice their excitement with the words, “resistance is growing, every hour, every day, every week.” They carry cement, items for children and more importantly “solidarity” on board the ship.
First message from Israel
According to a statement released by the Estelle activists from their website on Friday, Israel has made the first warning to the ship, asking it not to approach Gaza. According to the threat-like warning, which was conveyed through the Finnish Foreign Ministry, if the ship tries to break the Gaza blockade, Israel will intervene by using force, which will put the lives of those on board the ship at risk.
The statement released by the activists on board the ship reiterated that the ship set sail only to promote human rights, it is the effort of international civil society while it asked the Israeli government not to use force against the ship.
Before they set sail for Gaza, activists of the Estelle launched a signature campaign to show the civil society’s support for the removal of the Israeli blockade on Gaza. Thousands of signatures were collected from around the world just in several days for the campaign, a situation which the group interpreted as the clear social and political support behind the campaign. The group said supporters of the campaign should continue to lend their support so that the ship can continue its voyage freely.