The crisis in Gaza is unacceptable. For nearly four years, Israel has subjected the Gaza Strip to an increasingly cruel blockade, leading to severe increases in unemployment, poverty, and childhood malnutrition. Israel’s 22-day assault on Gaza last December & January killed over 1400 civilians and destroyed thousands of homes, schools, mosques and hospitals. It’s been almost a year since these attacks and thousands of Gaza’s Palestinians are still living in rubble. Maintaining the Gaza siege and denying Palestinians the right to rebuild their lives is unconscionable.
Free Gaza Ireland is working closely with the international Free Gaza Movement to acquire an “Irish boat” to sail to Gaza as part of an international flotilla challenging Israel’s brutal siege. Since August 2008, international volunteers in the Free Gaza Movement have been sailing to Gaza, suceeding 5 times to break the siege. Ours remain the only ships to reach Gaza since 1967. More than simple charity, the Palestinian people need our solidarity and political action. They need us to challenge the policies that leave them in need of humanitarian aid.
Caoimhe Butterly, renowned Irish human rights campaigner and Gaza Project Co-coordinator for the Free Gaza Movement stated that: “Our delegations have been deeply shocked by the deteriorating humanitarian conditions in Gaza. Israel’s ongoing occupation and the severity of the siege on Gaza is designed to isolate people as well as devastate the infrastructure of Gaza. Free Gaza’s mission is a reminder of not only the efficacy of using non-violent direct action to confront injustice, but also of the deafening silence of the international community.”
With Ireland’s help, the Free Gaza Movement hopes to sail to Gaza before winter sets in with ships carrying badly needed humanitarian and reconstruction supplies. On board will be Irish TD’s, journalists, human rights activists & Irish musicans who will perform in Gaza with local artists as part of a series of cultural events linking up with Ireland. We urge everyone to join us in concretely asserting the right of the Palestinian people to have access to the outside world. We will not stay silent as the Palestinian people are deliberately starved and humiliated. Like all peoples in the world – Palestinians have a right to life with dignity.