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Women’s Boat to Gaza: Hope is lost

The other boat, Zaytouna, is currently in the area where the last flotilla was forcefully boarded by Israeli forces
Activists of Two sailing boats, Amal-Hope and Zaytouna-Oliva, with only female activists on board, make preparations before set off for the Gaza Strip from the port of Barcelona under the banner "The Women's Boat to Gaza" to break the Israeli blockade on Gaza on 14 September, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain [Albert Llop/Anadolu Agency]
Activists of Two sailing boats, Amal-Hope and Zaytouna-Oliva, with only female activists on board, make preparations before set off for the Gaza Strip from the port of Barcelona under the banner "The Women's Boat to Gaza" to break the Israeli blockade on Gaza on 14 September, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain [Albert Llop/Anadolu Agency]

The Amal boat, which was sailing as part of the Women’s Boat to Gaza, has been anchored and will not continue on its journey to break the siege on Gaza, activists have announced yesterday.

The boat, named Amal or Hope, had encountered engine problems since it set sail on its heroic journey.

In Barcelona, Spain, it broke down and a replacement had to be bought, it was sent to Messina, Italy. The new boat sailed from Messina to Palermo last week but “the delays meant that the crew we had lined up for the last part of the voyage were no longer available”, a statement on the activists’ website said.

“It was a Herculean task to get Amal-Hope II this far, but we just weren’t able to make it happen in time,” Eva Manly, a retired documentary maker from Canada, who was also due to be on Amal-Hope II, said.

READ: Israeli Navy prepares for Women’s Boats heading to Gaza

“We are all terribly disappointed that we won’t have an opportunity to meet our Palestinian sisters in Gaza in person this year. But now we must put all our energy towards ensuring that Zaytouna-Oliva is successful in breaking this illegal blockade,” Gerd von der Lippe, an athlete and professor from Norway who was also set to be on the boat, said.

Twelve women were due to head to Gaza aboard Amal.

The Zaytouna-Oliva, which was due to make the journey alongside Amal, has continued its journey across the Mediterranean Sea and is on course to arrive in the port of Gaza later this week.

In 2015, the Freedom Flotilla III set sail for Gaza, carrying approximately 100 international activists. The Israeli army intercepted and redirected one of flotilla’s boats, the Marianne, to the Ashdod Port, while the rest of its boats turned back.

The Zaytouna boat will soon be arriving at the same location that the Marianna was stopped. You can track the Zaytouna’s progress below or at this link.

Also read our diary series from the boat:

Women’s Boat to Gaza Diary 3

Women’s Boat to Gaza Diary 2

Women’s Boat to Gaza Diary 1

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