Gaza’s Ark—a freedom flotilla aimed at breaking the Israeli blockade from within this besieged strip—was rocked by an unidentified explosion last month before it ever left the Gaza Port. Yet organizers announced Monday they intend to overcome severe damage sustained to the boat’s hull, and a history of sabotage against similar flotillas, to sail the ship this Autumn.
“The future plan is to continue our efforts and prepare Gaza’s Ark to be ready for sailing at maximum by late September,” said Zaher Birawi, member of the International Committee to Break the Siege of Gaza—a founding organization of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition, in an interview with Common Dreams. “We will not stop trying our best to break the siege of Gaza using all peaceful means.”
The decision emerged from a two-day meeting of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition, held in London, during which organizers committed to do the estimated two months of repair—at the cost of $30,000—needed to get the ship into the necessary condition to sail.
While the cause of the late April explosion is still unknown, Gaza’s Ark released a statement on Monday declaring, “[I]t is well known who enforces the blockade on Gaza and who doesn’t want it challenged. Preliminary results of the investigation and inspection by our partners indicate that the materials which were used in the attack are not readily found in Gaza.”
Jointly organized by Palestinians living in Gaza—including the Palestine Sailing Federation and the Fishermen’s Solidarity Campaign—and international solidarity organizations, the vessel was constructed by Palestinians and initially slated to embark in June on a voyage through international waters carrying Palestinian goods and people from Gaza and around the world.
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