Saheli Chowdhury India
Freedom Flotilla to Sail Again to Gaza, International Platform Launched

Freedom Flotilla to Sail Again to Gaza, International Platform Launched

Saheli Chowdhury India//2:57pm, Nov 30th '23

Plans are underway to dispatch a freedom flotilla to Gaza to break the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip by the occupation entity, and to take relief and medical aid to all parts of the region devastated by the occupation entity’s genocidal war of 49 days.

A platform named the International Campaign to Save Gaza was launched on Wednesday, November 23, in Istanbul, Türkiye, which will oversee the organization of this effort to break the siege.

Volkan Okçu, one of the organizers of the mission, said in an interview with Turkish news outlet Haber7 that approximately 1000 boats carrying 4,500 people from 40 countries will comprise the flotilla. Among the 1,000 vessels, 313 boats will carry Russian Palestine solidarity activists, and 104 boats will carry Spanish activists, Okçu said. Only 12 Turkish boats will join the flotilla this time.


On Wednesday, several Palestine solidarity organizations and civil society institutions from across the world gathered in Istanbul to launch the International Campaign to Save Gaza, in order to “mobilize advocacy, relief and rescue efforts though all available peaceful and legal means.”

The founding statement of the campaign declared: “In response to urgent pleas from the people of Gaza, civil society institutions, and official Palestinian authorities, and acknowledging our historical, legal, humanitarian, national, and moral responsibilities, we, as a coalition of international grassroots organizations and civil institutions in the Arab and Islamic world and worldwide, declare the commencement of the International Campaign to Save Gaza.”

The priority initiative of the platform, according to the founding statement, is “the prompt dispatch of relief ships and medical aid, in coordination with international entities experienced in overseeing relief convoys and humanitarian assistance in compliance with international laws and regulations governing aid delivery during times of conflict.”

The international Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FFC), which is part of the Campaign, stated on its website that they will “spare no efforts” to dispatch aid ships to the Gaza Strip before the end of December.

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The Mavi Marmara Freedom and Solidarity Association, which had carried out the previous attempt to break the siege of Gaza in 2010, also joined the platform. “We are setting out again towards Gaza as a civil and independent movement,” the organization announced at the launch event.

In a statement, the solidarity group denounced the United States and Israel for being the “main causes of the crisis in the region” and for preventing humanitarian aid supplies from being sent to Gaza.

It also announced that one of its ships will carry medical personnel and will serve as a floating hospital.

“We invite all humanitarian organizations, civil formations, and competent authorities to support and participate in this fleet,” the association stated. “Our actions against the naval blockade in Gaza are always subject to the principles of nonviolence and nonviolent resistance.”

In May 2010, the Mavi Marmara aid flotilla, composed of six civilian ships with 750 activists from 37 countries, carrying about 6,000 tons of humanitarian aid headed from Turkiye to Gaza, was raided by the Israeli navy that shot dead nine Turkish activists and wounded dozens. Another activist later succumbed to his injuries.

In the aftermath of the attack, Türkiye had demanded an official apology from Israel, compensation for the families of the murdered activists, and the lifting of the blockade on Gaza. Three years later, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized to the Turkish head of state, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and agreed to Türkiye’s humanitarian presence in Gaza, but the blockade was never lifted.

Comoros, the flag State of the Mavi Marmara ship that gave the flotilla its name, filed a war crimes case against Israel before the International Criminal Court. However, then Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, despite recognizing possible war crimes, refused to press charges against the occupation entity, claiming that the incident “did not carry sufficient gravity to justify further action by the Court.”

On Thursday, November 24, Israeli occupation soldiers destroyed a monument in Gaza dedicated to the Mavi Marmara flotilla.

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