The Freedom Flotilla Coalition held a press conference at IHH headquarters on the 10-11th of August regarding the decisions they have made.
In the meeting which Turkey, United States, Greece, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, Malaysia, Jordan, Canada, Spain, France and England all attended the following was stated “It is believed that in order for Gaza to be a liberated state again, the whole world needs to pierce through the blockade on Gaza and need to make their way in once again. We plan to sail to Gaza during 2014, the UN International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People."
In the meeting it was stated that they were going to send flotillas from all over the world in order to support Gaza. But during their voyage they expressed how they did not want any escorts to protect their ships. “We are trying to defend the humanitarian rights of the whole world and the freedom of the Palestinian people, we are trying to provide facilities for the flotillas which will be heading towards Gaza” said Coalition member, Canadian Representative, Ehab Lotayef. He urged states and called out for a civil initiative against the prosecution which is occurring.
The Press Release of the Coalition:
The Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FFC) met in Istanbul in the shadow of the latest Israeli aggression on Gaza. We have watched atrocities being committed against an already besieged population. In the two day meeting (August 10th and 11th), the FFC concluded that it is the responsibility of civil society worldwide to sail to Gaza and challenge the Israeli blockade, the source of most problems facing the Palestinian population of Gaza.
We plan to sail to Gaza during 2014, the UN International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People: http://unispal.un.org/unispal.nsf/solidarity.htm?OpenForm
This initiative, following in the footsteps of the 2010 and 2011 flotillas as well as other attempts to challenge the blockade of Gaza (between 2008 and 2014), is expected to include a wider and more diverse international participation. This new flotilla is a reflection of the growing worldwide solidarity with the Palestinian people; from the US to Malaysia, from Scandinavia to South Africa.
"Calls to end the blockade of Gaza need to move from words to actions," said Ann Ighe, chairperson of Ship to Gaza and member of the FFC. We invite all interested citizens worldwide to participate in this initiative in any way you can."
These boats are also expected to carry Palestinian commercial products purchased by buyers worldwide to complete the work of Gaza's Ark; the cargo boat built by the Palestinians and the FFC in Gaza and was bombed by Israel on July 11th.
"We urge all governments to defend Human Rights and the right of the Palestinian people to freedom of movement, to facilitate the sailing of our ships to Gaza. It is their responsibility," added Ehab Lotayef of the coalition.
In addition to sailing to Gaza, the FFC will organize demonstrations at sea and in ports worldwide over the next months. Along with other projects, the initiative will support the right of Palestinians to operate international marine lines in and out of the port of Gaza.
We support the Palestinian demand to open the port of Gaza to international marine traffic. The FFC also will work on twinning ports in the Mediterranean and beyond, with Gaza City, as a sign of solidarity and support.
Finally, we assert that all that we do is peaceful, civil society driven non-governmental actions.
Freedom Flotilla Coalition members:
European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza
Freedom Flotilla Italia
IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation
International Committee for Breaking the Siege on Gaza (ICBSG)
Rumbo a Gaza
Ship to Gaza Greece
Ship to Gaza Norway
Ship to Gaza Sweden
Also participating in the project:
Palestine Solidarity Alliance - South Africa
Haluan Palestin - Malaysia
Life Line to Gaza - Jordan
Miles of Smiles