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'Freedom Flotilla III' sets sail for Gaza

May 12, 2015 3:18 P.M. (Updated: May 12, 2015 9:55 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The first ship taking part in Freedom Flotilla III on Monday set sail from Gothenburg, Sweden, for a voyage of nearly 5,000 nautical miles to the blockaded Gaza Strip, the Freedom Flotilla Coalition said.

The trawler Marianne was jointly acquired by "Ship to Gaza Sweden" and "Ship to Gaza Norway" and will be joined by other ships en route.

Together, the ships will form the third flotilla to head to Gaza with the aim of "a peaceful, nonviolent action to break the illegal and inhumane blockade of the Gaza Strip," the FFC said.

Gaza has been under a crippling Israeli-administered military blockade since 2007.

The first three ports the Marianne will call into are Helsingborg, Malm and Copenhagen, with subsequent ports to be announced later.

The trawler is carrying a limited cargo of solar cell panels and medical equipment for the war-devastated Gaza Strip, the FFC said.

It will carry a crew of five people as well as "up to eight delegates as passengers in each section of the route," the FFC said, with these delegates to be announced along the way.

A range of public figures are expected to participate in the flotilla, including former Tunisian President and human rights activist Muncef al-Marzouki

The flotilla is the third of its kind since 2010, when the first Freedom Flotilla was brutally attacked by Israel naval forces, who killed nine activists on board the ships.

The incident, which took place in international waters, sparked international outcry.

A second flotilla planned for 2011 was unable to reach Gaza after Greek authorities prevented the ships from leaving Athens.

Conditions in the Gaza Strip have deteriorated sharply following last summer's 50-day Israeli assault, which left more than 2,200 Palestinians dead and around 100,000 internally displaced.

A statement released by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees in March said: "In Gaza, the effects of the occupation, blockade and recurring military campaigns have devastated not only Palestine refugee homes, lives and income, but also hope for a secure and dignified future."

Another UNRWA report said: "Gaza and its people are becoming more isolated; families fear and worry that in addition to the devastated economy and the stalled political environment, the future of their children is also under siege."
Brian / UK
A legal warning to Inmarsat, a U.S. based satellite communications provider, that under U.S. law they will be open to charges of aiding and abetting terrorism if they provide services to these Gaza-bound ships.
12/05/2015 17:56
Mona / Denmark
Israel will transfer the cargo and the Swedish ship into their Israeli port at Ashdod.
12/05/2015 18:02
Sean / Scotland
Indirect or direct help to a terrorist entity (Hamas) by this Swedish boat, will be a violation according to US law.
12/05/2015 18:06
Alex / USA
I hope the "dignitaries" aboard flotilla are capable swimmers.
12/05/2015 18:24
Tania / New Zealand
I am running a sweepstake and the winning ticket is: The Marianne of Gothenburg will berth in Ashdod.
12/05/2015 18:28
Truth / Teller
Israel should systematically sink all ships that try to break the blockade. The blockade is there for a reason, and Hamas in Gaza does not give any indication they want to change their behavior and intetions to harm Israel. Sink them all!
12/05/2015 19:05
Bunty / Hungary
If the Marianne follows UN protocol, moves the ship to a port in Israel or Egypt, allows the humanitarian cargo they claim is on the ship to be distributed through U.N. channels, then they will have done the right thing in this case.
12/05/2015 20:22
Bonnie loranger / USA
I hope the Israelis stop it. There are good reasons for the blockade and it is none of swede business to interfere
12/05/2015 21:51
Carlos / usa
Hail to the flotilla. My hope goes with you. israel is tyranny lies and murder.
14/05/2015 20:03
inbound39 / New Zealand
If we are going to talk legality then America needs to realise it is illegally providing weapons in violation of its own laws and International Law by supplying weapons to a non signatory of the NPT and is therefore complicit in any war crime committed by Israel against the Palestinian people.
17/05/2015 07:35
Dr. Ilham Kocache / Qatar
Our region must determine its own destiny. US Law and sanctions will not bring about a solution because they are driven by politics and real concern for the region. Israel will sooner rather than later realize the entire world is turning against it. Iran is growing in strength. Peace is now.
17/05/2015 14:38
Yigal / Israel
And when is a flotilla leaving to deliver aid to besieged Palestinians in Yarmuq Camp? none? Palestinians suffering by the hands of their brethren is no news.
18/05/2015 13:01
carlos / usa
Yigal you are a typical israeli! You know nothing of geography or of logistics. Yarmouk camp has no access by sea, so supplies are brought by truck, smuggled and dropped from airplanes. Enough said.
18/05/2015 19:59
Arnold / Canada
Good for them. As long as the cargo is off loaded at an Israeli port or an Egyptian port for inspection. From there to be trans loaded for delivery to Gaza. Send lots !
18/05/2015 20:28
Baybars / Canada
What a horrible lack of empathy shown in these comments for a society that is starving and held captive by a cruel ideology and unfortunate lack of historical memory. If Moses were alive today, he would be fighting for the release of the people of Palestine.
18/05/2015 21:45
Tobias / USA
Unless the Marianne, and other ships, heading to Gaza accept being diverted, IT WILL NOT BE A PEACEFUL, NON-VIOLENT ACTION,
and next time Israel should start enforcing international law, which allows confiscating the ships, that illegally try to break the blockade of Gaza !!
31/05/2015 17:49
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