Free Gaza Movement: We do not ask permission from Israel
by Huwaida Arraf
The Free Gaza Movement is sending the Dignity on its fifth mission to Gaza with envoys on board from the people of Qatar. The boat also carries journalists, human rights observers, and Palestinians who want to return home and have been prevented from doing so by the Israeli occupation.
On the eve of this voyage, the Free Gaza Movement wanted to clarify a few the statements in a December 11 interview by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas with Al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper. In that interview, he suggesting our efforts are coordinated with the Israelis – that the Israelis check the passports of the passengers aboard our ship and officials from the Israeli Embassy in Larnaca, Cyprus, check our boat before we leave the port.
And as a result of this interference, President Abbas stated that this is a “silly game” and that we are not really breaking the siege.
We do not coordinate any of our actions with the Israelis. In fact, we believe Israel has grossly abused its authority as an occupying power by collectively punishing the people of Gaza and denying them basic human rights. We neither seek Israel’s permission, nor submit to their searches, because we continue to insist that the Palestinian people have the right to access the outside world, including the right to invite and welcome us to Gaza.
However, President Abbas was correct when he said that we are not really breaking the siege on Gaza. Our boats cannot break the siege alone. Our hope is that we have started something that others can build on. We have shown that the concerted efforts of ordinary civilians working together in the name of justice can confront and successfully challenge Israel’s brutal policies and hope we have inspired other people to break their silence over Israel’s war crimes in the Gaza Strip.
What is happening in Gaza is not isolated from Israel’s policies in other parts of the occupied Palestinian territory. From the continued and accelerated Judaization of Jerusalem and the rabid violence of the settler movement, to the vicious racism of Israeli politicians, Israel continues to dispossess and marginalize the indigenous Palestinians.
The Free Gaza Movement will continue to send boats to Gaza and we will continue to challenge Israel’s blockade of 1.5 million Palestinians. We do not need Israel’s permission to go and we will never ask for it.
Free Gaza Movement
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