Posts Tagged ‘Canadian Boat to Gaza’

Today, Winnipeg activists responded to the actions of the Greek government to block the Tahrir and other vessels that make up Freedom Flotilla II from sailing for Gaza with an information picket in the city’s Osborne Village neighbourhood.

The Tahrir is the Canadian vessel in the Flotilla. As with all of the other boats and crews, the Tahrir is committed to peace and nonviolence. Its mission is to deliver humanitarian aid to the suffering people of Gaza and to pressure the Israeli government to end its illegal and oppressive blockade of Gaza.

Get informed and take action. These folks can provide both information and opportunities for action.

Canadian Boat to Gaza’s vessel, the Tahrir, is one of several ships attempting peacefully to end Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza. Tahrir is a part of Freedom Flotilla II, sponsored by groups from Belgium, Denmark, Australia, United States, France, Spain, Italy, Ireland, the U.K, Greece, Turkey, Malaysia, and more.  The Flotilla aims to travel to Gaza with approximately 10 vessels including both passenger and cargo ships carrying humanitarian aid.

Greek officials said today that they have banned local and foreign-flagged ships destined for Gaza from leaving the country’s ports. The Greek coast guard has boarded Tahrir in an effort to prevent it from sailing.

We can expect that Canadian solidarity organizations will be mobilizing support for the Canadian Boar to Gaza and Freedom Flotilla II. Please respond when the call goes out.

The following news release provides more information.

The blockade of Gaza reaches the shores of Greece! As it attempts to sail, the Canadian Boat to Gaza, the Tahrir, blockaded in Greece

Greek coast guard are now on board the Tahrir attempting to arrest Sandra Rush, Jewish Canadian member of the Canada boat to Gaza Steering Committee, who is refusing to surrender boat’s registration papers.

Efforts to stop Freedom Flotilla 2 – Stay Human from sailing have included diplomatic pressure and manipulation, economic blackmail, bureaucratic obstacles, baseless and slanderous allegations against the flotilla and the delegates, and sabotage of at least two vessels.

“The world watched as an intensive campaign to prevent the Tahrir and the entire Freedom flotilla II from sailing was underway.  We have been unjustly and duplicitously treated.” said Irene MacInnes of the Tahrir organizing committee. “The government of Israel, shamefully with the tacit support of the Harper government, is doing everything in its power to maintain the blockade. Today, as a result of the concerted efforts of the 4th largest military power in the world and its backers, we have been prevented from sailing to Gaza. Yet we will persevere in our attempts till the blockade is lifted.”

“Israel has in effect extended the illegal blockade of Gaza to Greek ports, using the Greece’s economic difficulties to influence the government’s position”, said David Heap of the organizing committee.

“We remain absolutely clear that the Canadian Boat to Gaza has not been, is not, and has no intention of, breaking any laws. It is the blockade of Gaza that is illegal under international law. We have a legal and moral obligation to challenge the blockade, given the failure of the international community to act”, said Dylan Penner of the organizing committee. “This is why we must continue our attempts to sail to Gaza: to challenge the illegal and immoral blockade and to equally challenge the Canadian federal government’s support for it.”

Meanwhile the US boat to Gaza, The Audacity of Hope, is at a standoff with the Greek Navy boats, refusing orders to return to shore.

For biographies of delegates aboard the Tahrir visit: www.tahrir.ca/content/delegates-board-tahrir

UPDATE: Canadian Boat to Gaza urges supporters to email/fax the governments of Canada, Greece and Israel. More information and sample letters are available here.

By Canadian Boat to Gaza

As the Canadian federal election campaign enters week two, the government of Israel has launched a campaign to slander, disrupt, and possibly attack the upcoming Freedom Flotilla to Gaza, which will have many Canadians aboard the Canadian Boat to Gaza. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has now threatened to “act firmly” using “force” against the flotilla in May.

The Canadian Boat to Gaza is calling on all of the federal parties to denounce these threats against Canadians by Israel, which has demonstrated its willingness to use lethal force against civilians, similar to its fatal attack on last year’s freedom flotilla.

“Netanyahu’s vow to use force is tantamount to a death threat against the Canadian and international participants in the flotilla,” says Wendy Goldsmith of the Canadian Boat to Gaza. “The question is, if elected, what will candidates running in this election do to ensure the safety and security of those on board the Canadian Boat to Gaza, in light of Israeli threats of violence?”

Prime Minister Netanyahu has falsely claimed that the Flotilla is being organized by “radical Islamists” intent on smuggling weapons into Gaza by sea. With support from coast to coast, the Canadian Boat to Gaza has raised over 80% of its fundraising goal of $300,000, and enjoys the endorsement of organizations representing hundreds of thousands of Canadians.

Retired federal politicians – including Warren Allmand and Raymond Gravel – support the initiative, and the Canadian Boat to Gaza is calling on politicians seeking election to do the same.

“In the absence of federal leadership, Canadians are preparing to stand up for Palestinian human rights and international law by breaking the illegal siege of Gaza. We’re inviting the federal party leaders to join us on the boat and to be part of the peaceful solution to this crisis,” says Ehab Lotayef of the Canadian Boat to Gaza. “Candidates seeking office in this election have a responsibility to make it clear that it would be unacceptable for Israel to attack the Canadian Boat to Gaza or any other vessel in the upcoming flotilla.”

Many notable Canadian and international figures have already endorsed the Canadian Boat to Gaza, including Denis Halliday, former UN Humanitarian coordinator in Iraq, Amir Khadir, Quebec MLA, Maher Arar and Monia Mazigh, writers Judy Rebick and Linda McQuaig, Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein, to name but a few. More than 100 civil society organizations – trade unions such as CSN in Quebec, Christian, Muslim and Jewish groups, campus and community organizations, as well as non-governmental organizations – have lent their support to the mission.

The international Freedom Flotilla II, coordinating the efforts of groups from all over the world (Canada, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, Ireland, USA, UK, Greece, Turkey, France and others) is planning to sail to Gaza in the second half of May 2011. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu also asked UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to help him stop the Freedom Flotilla from arriving in Gaza in May. The Secretary General responded saying that Israel should end the blockade of Gaza.


See also: Video: Huwaida Arraf on the Free Gaza Movement and Freedom Flotilla

Contact your MP – here.