Activist group Ship to Gaza, which organized Estelle’s voyage to Gaza with the slogan: “Give an end to Gaza blockade,” made a press statement after the ship left the Italian port on Friday. Ship to Gaza said Israeli Foreign Ministry imposes pressure on the countries of the activists on board the ship urging them to keep their citizens away from Gaza.
The statement said such a move is a violation of freedom of movement, one of the fundamental principles of the EU and it will be unacceptable for the EU countries to bow to such pressure from Israel and display a stance against their citizens and their ship. The activist group said Italian authorities gave the necessary permissions to Estelle on Oct.1 for it to set sail for Gaza despite pressure from Israel.
Before Estelle set out for Gaza, Ship to Gaza launched a signature campaign to show the civil society’s determination 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.