The International Coalition of the Freedom Flotilla has announced that it will sail again to the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2020 to try to break the siege and silence towards the continuation of collective punishment imposed on the more than two million Palestinian people in Gaza.
The decision comes after a two-day meeting in the Dutch city of Rotterdam, attended by representatives of solidarity organisations in support of Palestinian rights, from ten European countries including America, Canada and New Zealand.
The flotilla will sail May next year, ten years after the bloody Israeli attack on the first Turkish-owned freedom flotilla, the Mavi Marmara that aimed to deliver aid to Gaza, breaking an Israeli and Egyptian blockade on the territory in 2010.
The ships were carrying 10,000 tonnes of goods, including school supplies, building materials and two large electricity generators. The activists said they wanted to make the point that the blockade was illegal under international law. Israeli soldiers killed ten Turkish activists onboard the aid ship.
The International Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FFC) is a grassroots people-to-people solidarity movement with members from all over the world working together to end the blockade of Gaza.
“The children of Gaza deserve the same rights as children in every other country of the world,” Ann Wright of the US Boat to Gaza said.
“They are more than a million, more than half of the population of Gaza, and they are being deprived of the right to a just future because of the illegal blockade and ongoing military attacks on occupied Gaza by Israel, with the complicity of our governments.”
[Statement] #FreedomFlotilla 2020: For the Children of Gaza
We met this week to plan May 2020⛵️to challenge & end illegal, inhuman Israeli blockade + to restore rights of children & youth for life, security & freedom of movement https://t.co/LAsPk5zUxh #GazaKids #EndGazaBlockade pic.twitter.com/vJy8VMbduo
— Freedom Flotilla (@GazaFFlotilla) December 2, 2019
The coalition expressed serious concerns regarding the humanitarian situation, calling on people of conscience from all over the world to support the mission to support the rights of Gaza’s children.
In 2012, the UN predicted that Gaza was on track to become “uninhabitable” by 2020. In 2017, the UN acknowledged that the “uninhabitable” threshold had already been passed. Despite this, “somehow, families in Gaza find ways to ‘make do’.”
Zaher Birawi, head of the International Committee for Breaking the Siege who also participated in the Rotterdam meetings, stressed that this year’s coalition project will focus on the effects of the blockade on children and youth in Gaza.
The Israeli siege on the Strip, which has been reinforced by Egypt, has left the enclave unable to import necessary building materials or other essentials, stifling economic growth and increasing unemployment rates in the enclave.
Palestinians in Gaza are unable to leave the Strip as a result of the siege.