Gaza Freedom Flotilla to set sail!

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Former US diplomat ANN WRIGHT addressing a press-conference with international participants who arrived to sail with Freedom Flotilla

A FLOTILLA of ships, carrying some 5,000 tons of food, drinking water, and medical aid, is expected to depart from Turkey in the coming days in an attempt to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza and bring much-needed relief to the residents of the war-torn enclave.

During a press conference last Friday, the Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FFC), an international humanitarian organisation, which is involved in the relief effort, announced that at least three vessels are set to depart from the western Turkish port of Tuzla on the Sea of Marmara, south of Istanbul, despite Israel’s threats.

Approximately 1,000 professionals, including doctors, lawyers, and academics, are set to join the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.

No departure date has yet been set as organisers said they are now waiting for permission to sail from the Turkish authorities, adding that they had notified the Turkish government, the United Nations and other international institutions about the mission earlier.

Gaza has been under an Israeli land, air and sea blockade since 2007.

Activists from 12 national human rights groups from various countries including Germany, Malaysia, Palestine, Norway, Argentina, Spain, Canada, and South Africa, accompanied by journalists, will reportedly participate in the effort.

‘The Gaza Freedom Flotilla is composed of unarmed civilians that are here on a peaceful mission to challenge the Israeli blockade of Gaza and to deliver humanitarian assistance as requested by the International Court of Justice,’ explained Ann Wright, a retired United States army colonel and former diplomat.

Speaking to the Anadolu news agency, Wright addressed the possibility of an Israeli attack and said that Israel’s record is quite full in this regard, but another misstep by Israel could jeopardise its own security.

Fauziah Mohd Hasan, a doctor affiliated with the Malaysian Freedom Flotilla Movement, highlighted the extensive preparations for the mission, which has involved over 280 prominent individuals from various fields worldwide.

Dylan Saba, a US writer and attorney who is planning to travel with the flotilla, said he is joining in part because: ‘There is an obligation for citizens of the world to act, where governments have failed, and to act in the spirit of international law.’

In 2010, a similar mission with ships carrying more than 600 activists from more than 30 countries, gained worldwide attention after an Israeli raid on a flotilla that included a Turkish ship, the Mavi Marmara, killed 10 people and sparked a diplomatic crisis between Turkey and Israel.

Since the onset of the Israeli war on Gaza on October 7th, the Tel Aviv regime has blocked water, food, and electricity, plunging the coastal strip into a humanitarian crisis and is using starvation as a weapon of war against the people of Gaza.

HAMAS CALLS FOR WEST BANK GENERAL STRIKE!

THE Palestinian Hamas resistance group has called for a general strike across the occupied West Bank and a day of mourning in condemnation of the Israeli military raid on the Nur Shams refugee camp that killed at least 14 Palestinians.

The Gaza-based group called on all walks of society in the West Bank to pour out onto the streets, and engage in confrontations with the criminal forces of the Zionist regime in reprisal for the deadly assault in the northwestern West Bank city of Tulkarm.

‘As we mourn the noble martyrs of Tulkarm, who confronted the (Israeli) occupation forces with determination and steadfastness, we affirm that Zionist criminality will not bring security to the occupying Tel Aviv regime.

‘The resistance of our people will pass on from one generation to another until final victory and full liberation of our occupied lands,’ Hamas said in a statement.

It added: ‘We call on our people in the West Bank to take part in a general strike on Sunday, and turn all squares and hangouts into places where great wrath and anger in unleashed on the occupying regime.

‘We also urge freedom fighters to aim their rifles at occupation forces and criminal settlers.’

Earlier, Mustafa Taqatqa, governor of Tulkarm, had also called for a general strike in the occupied West Bank and a day of mourning on Sunday in protest against the Israeli raid on the Nur Shams refugee camp.

‘All these crimes will not affect the determination of our people and their free will, leading to the end of the occupation and the establishment of our independent Palestinian state,’ he was quoted as saying by the official Wafa news agency.

Israeli forces killed at least 14 Palestinians, including 10 fighters, during the siege on the refugee camp which is located in the northern part of the occupied West Bank.

Israeli forces began an extended raid in the early hours of Friday in the Nur Shams refugee camp, which is near the flashpoint Palestinian city of Tulkarm, and continued exchanging fire with local fighters well into Saturday.

Israeli military vehicles massed and bursts of gunfire were heard, while at least three drones hovered above the area.

The Tulkarm Brigades, which groups together forces from numerous Palestinian factions, said its fighters exchanged fire with Israeli forces on Saturday.

The Israeli regime has notably escalated its aggression against Palestinians across the West Bank since October 7th, when it began an all-out genocidal war on Gaza.

At least 483 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli troops or settlers in the West Bank ever since the onset of the war that has claimed the lives of more than 34,000 people in Gaza so far.

Big pro-Palestine protests in Berlin, Dublin, Geneva and Universities across the US

THOUSANDS of Pro-Palestinian demonstrators have flooded the streets of Berlin, Dublin, and Geneva, calling for an urgent ceasefire and urging their governments to halt support for the Israeli regime.

On Sunday, the protesters denounced Israel’s actions in Gaza as genocide and demanded an immediate and permanent cease-fire in the months-long Israeli attacks, amplifying the global outcry for peace in the region.

In Berlin, nearly 2,000 people gathered at Potsdamer Platz and marched towards the federal parliament, the Bundestag, chanting slogans such as ‘Germany is funding, Israel is bombing’, ‘Shame on you,’ and ‘Stop arming Israel.’

Protesters carried banners and signs at the rally with slogans such as ‘Stop supporting Israel with my taxes’ and ‘Jewish community demands an end to genocide support.’

In Geneva, thousands of people rallied in a show of solidarity for Palestine, as they took part in a march that started at Place de Neuve Square, and wound its way through the city centre for several hours, and ended in front of the United Nations Office in Geneva.

Protesters waving Palestinian flags and holding placards denouncing Israel’s genocide in Gaza demanded an urgent and permanent ceasefire.

They also chanted slogans against United States President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

A significant turnout was witnessed at the Garden of Remembrance Park in Dublin as the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign organised the protest, drawing in a considerable number of participants.

Demonstrators carrying Palestinian and Irish flags rallied at Kildare Street, calling for an immediate halt to Israel’s offensive in Gaza.

Banners with messages like ‘Boycott Apartheid Israel’ and ‘Freedom & Justice for Palestine’ were prominently displayed during the protest.

Meanwhile, hundreds of people took part in a pro-Palestine march in Cork city. This Cork Palestine Solidarity Campaign march and rally was the 27th weekly demonstration held in the city since October last year.

Meanwhile, university students in the United States have also announced solidarity rallies with the Columbia University demonstrators after New York police arrested more than 100 pro-Palestinian activists protesting on the campus at New York’s Columbia University.

Protesters at Columbia have demanded a permanent ceasefire in Gaza and an end to US military aid for Israel, as well as university divestment from companies benefiting from Israel’s incursion.

Since the onset of the Israeli war on Gaza, many countries, including the US and Israel’s other Western allies, have seen rallies in support of the Palestinians.

Israel launched its war on Gaza on October 7th after the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas waged the surprise Operation Al-Aqsa Storm against the occupying entity in response to the Israeli intensified violence against Palestinians.