Shoks Mnisi Mzolo – Cii News | 24 Rajab 1436/14 May 2015

Picking up from the ashes of the first Gaza Freedom Flotilla, which suffered gunshots from Israeli army, killing nine activists, a group of activists are headed for the subjugated and crammed Palestinian territory. Former president of Tunisia, Mohamed Moncef Marzouki, is among these activists whose aim is to ship aid to the occupied Palestinian territory while forcing Israel to end the blockade. A Gaza-bound ship named Marianne Gothenburg (after pro-justice Swedish activist, Marianne Skoog, who died last May) that departed from Sweden weekend is due to reach its destination around May 31. That is five years since the attack of Mavi Marmara.

This is the culmination of work that spanned almost three years, during which Israel slaughtered in excess of 2,000 people (including more than 500 children), to put the initiative in motion, said of Ismail Moola of the Palestinian Solidarity Alliance (PSA). There are five ships that are part of the flotilla that will meet along the Mediterranean before proceeding to Gaza. That will be the toughest part, Moola conceded while urging Cii listeners not to give up their support, even in the face of terror and death, for the people of Palestine.

The Israeli Defence Force (IDF), which shot and killed nine activists and detained 600 others, looks set to resort to violence in its bid to block the Gaza Freedom Flotilla from entering the besieged territory and bringing humanitarian aid there. The apartheid state has already announced it will bar Marianne Gothenburg from entering its “waters”, Moola told Cii listeners during an interview with Sabahul Khair.

“We haven’t even started the difficult journey as yet because that only takes place once we come closer towards the shores of Gaza,” the PSA activist said, expressing his astonishment that so many people have volunteered to come on board in view of the IDF’s assault on Mavi Marmara. “In response to our ship leaving Sweden, (the foreign ministry) issued a press release saying that they won’t allow any ship to enter Israeli waters. Can you believe it?”

Clearly the situation is tense. But activists, hailing from more than a dozen countries (and including personalities such as Marzouki and Israeli-born Swedish citizen Dror Feiler, a musician, Maria Svensson, spokesperson of the Feministiskt initiative and unnamed South Africans), on the third Gaza Freedom Flotilla are not deterred.

“We always remind ourselves what is the nature of resistance and the resistance of our brothers and sisters, on a daily basis, in Gaza and the West Bank. Daily our people are standing up towards occupation. Daily our people are losing lives and limb because they are standing up (against) occupation. And for us then to say, you know what, we don’t want to risk this, I think is very hypocritical. So we have these discussions all the time, and especially when it comes to the funding of these of operations because this is huge,” Moola said, noting that the International Coalition and affiliates – behind the third freedom flotilla – has undertaken an expensive exercise. This is organised by the Free Gaza Movement and the Turkish Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (İHH).

Marianne Gothenburg , Moola explained, was purchased by anti-apartheid activists from Sweden and Norway. They also raised funds to ensure that it was seaworthy and equipped with all the necessary navigation and communication equipment. “This, what I’m talking about, is just one. We are planning to have five of these ships as part of the current flotilla and each one of these goes through the same process. So the money that goes into these kinds of missions is big. And sometimes when we have our discussions we look at whether does it justify? We come to the same conclusion: absolutely – because the siege is killing the people of Gaza. The siege is limiting what the people of Gaza can do,” the anti-apartheid African activist said.

“The humanitarian condition in Gaza is at its lowest level. The suffering there is unbelievable. For us to challenge these kinds of unilateral decisions by the apartheid state has to be done on all fronts,” Moola continued. To this end, the PSA has embarked on a campaign that included writing to the AU, during the Gaza massacre in 2014, to ask the African club to probe whether the closure of the Rafah border – by Egypt, possibly on behalf of Israel – violated its charter. Rafah has been sealed by the Abdel Fattal El-Sisi coup d’état regime since the ouster of Mohamed Morsi. The closure of Rafah, in addition to the crossings into the Zionist state, confirms Gaza’s status as an open-air prison.

“These are different avenues that we are using to highlight the discrepancies in how laws are applied to different nations in the world and when it comes to Israel nobody is concerned and nobody does anything about it. We can’t sit back and say to ourselves that, you know, we will choose which are the less confrontational battles and go for the soft. We’ve got to fight it on all fronts,” he said, while adding the PSA would be meeting the AU to discuss Rafah and alerting Cii listeners to PSA and coalition-hosted events due in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg.