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Unidentified vessel and military reconnaissance plane near Marianne

Marianne of Gothenburg can now be located 279 nautical miles from Gaza. -Military vessels and reconnaissance planes appeared near Marianne during Saturday afternoon, says Joel Opperdoes kaptain onboard Marianne. Opperdoes informs that an undentified vessel and what in his opinion appears as a military reconnaissance aircraft, which during Saturday afternoon could be located near Marianne. The crew could not identify nationality for neither the vessels or the planes. - The vessel and plane disappeared around 5pm today and we haven’t seen any signs of them since, the kaptain says....

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27 June
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Freedom Flotilla III sets sail: #NextPortGaza

Today, June 27th 2015, four boats of the 2015 the Freedom Flotilla III set sail from their final European points of departure. Through nonviolent resistance they will challenge the illegal blockade of the Palestinian Gaza strip, which is running on its 9th year, sailing as always from international waters directly into Palestinian waters. The Flotilla is due to reach Gaza in just a few days. Participants on board include about 50 human rights activists, journalists, artists, and political figures representing 17 countries. This is the third Freedom Flotilla to sail, in addition to nine single boats that have undertaken to sail to Gaza, beginning in 2008 when several voyages reached Gaza City harbor and returned to Europe from their mission of bringing supplies and solidarity to the people of Gaza. A converted fishing trawler, the 'Marianne of Gothenburg'  left Sweden in May to join the flotilla and has made numerous stops along its journey around Europe. Marianne is carrying solar panels that would help alleviate the serious problem of electricity in Gaza, as well .as medical equipment. Three other sailing vessels (Rachel, Vittorio and Juliano II) are accompanying Marianne in its mission to break the blockade of Gaza, in solidarity to the...

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27 June
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Freedom Flotilla III is Sailing to Open the Port of Gaza

More than three boats, with more than 50 crew and passengers from about twenty countries are prepared to reach the port of Gaza and call on the international community to open it This year’s mission, organized by the Freedom Flotilla Coalition against the blockade and the siege of Gaza, is about to sail to highlight the violation of the rights of 1.8 million Palestinians living in the world’s largest open-air prison. The Israeli government claims that there are ‘unauthorized boats trying to illegally enter Israeli territorial waters’. There are no ‘unauthorized boats’, only an illegal and inhumane blockade; the UN has recently called to end it and Freedom Flotilla III sails to challenge it, without any need or desire to enter Israeli territorial waters. This fact is highlighted by the practices of Israeli naval forces against previous sea missions, which have intercepted all boats since 2009 in international waters, headed towards Palestinian waters off Gaza, never towards Israel or Israeli waters. Freedom Flotilla III is invited by Palestinians in Gaza through various organizations that work for a relief of the thousands that were left heavily wounded, homeless, jobless, and displaced after recent Israeli operations in the Gaza Strip. We also have among our...

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26 June
women in Palermo
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Sicilian women appeal to women of Gaza

Palermo and Messina women appeal to women of Gaza [ENGLISH] Women of Palermo and Messina, aware of the need to take with determination the initiative to affirm the rights of women, mortified more than ever in the current historical phase by the barbarity of war and the misconception of the identity and role of women in contemporary societies, embrace women of Gaza and of all Palestine that bear the marks, in their body and in their mind, of the culture of death, as final product of the crisis of the world's democracies. Women of Palermo and Messina have closed their eyes and imagined to walk in the streets-not streets of Khan Younis, of the villages of Gaza Strip, between the houses, the shops, the markets destroyed, all essential everyday life services disappeared. They have imagined harrowing scenes of war, with bodies scattered on the ground as cut flowers and rubble of destroyed houses. Women of Palermo and Messina have felt the courage of Palestinian women in keeping alive for so long and in the middle of the tragedy of the facts, the sense of unity and memory inside the community, the link with the territory of their people, the strength of a tenacious and determined resistance that they pay daily, suffering the violence of...

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25 June
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More than a hundred MEPs call for end to Gaza blockade

More than a hundred MEPs from all European political groups have signed an open letter to the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini to call EU countries to fully support peaceful actions of the Freedom Flotilla, to ask from Israel to lift the blockade on Gaza, and to take steps towards ensuring that Israel fulfills its responsibilities in the international community. The initiative has been announced to the press today by MEPs Martina Anderson (Sinn Fein), Josu Juaristi (EH Bildu), Miguel Urban (Podemos), Angela Vallina (IU) and Jordi Sebastia (Compromís).   "Within the last eight years Gaza has been subjected to three large military onslaughts by Israel," Martina Anderson, Member of the European Parliament for the Nordic Green Left, said. "The Gaza strip is some of the most densely populated urban areas; it is blockaded by land, air and sea by Israel," "There is little wonder as to why Gaza is described as the world’s largest open air prison." "The many thousands of people who protested in Ireland and across Europe against Israel's onslaught on Gaza, almost a year ago, illustrate clearly the solidarity of the people to Palestine and their rejection of Israel's blockade and occupation. As an...

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24 June
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Press Conference: Solidarity with the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. 24/06/2015, 9.30

When: Wednesday 24-6-2015,9.30 Where: EP press room, Brussels With GUE/NGL MEPs: Martina ANDERSON (Sinn Féin), Josu JUARISTI ABAUNZ (EH Bildu), Miguel URBÁN CRESPO (PODEMOS) and Jordi SEBASTIÀ (Greens) The third Freedom Flotilla is currently on its way to deliver humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza with GUE/NGL MEP Estefania Torres on board. It is scheduled to arrive in Gaza in just a few days. The FFC have made two previous efforts to reach Gaza, but have been prevented on both occasions by the Israeli navy. In 2010, Israeli forces opened fire on the boats and killed nine activists. GUE/NGL Press Contact: Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20 European United Left / Nordic Green Left European Parliamentary Group Related MEPs Josu Juaristi Martina Anderson Miguel Urbán Crespo Related delegations EH Bildu Sinn Féin Podemos ...

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23 June
Dr Basel Ghattas
Photo by: Orling - CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
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Open letter from Member of Knesset Dr. Basel Ghattas to Netanyahu

The freedom flotilla to Gaza will leave Athens shortly. I will be on it along with many other participants including members of parliament and public figures from around the world. This civil flotilla is a peaceful one whose aim is to end the siege by way of turning international attention to the situation of 1.8 million Palestinians, living in disgraceful, prison-like conditions as a result of Israel’s military siege of both sea and land — not to mention that it poses collective punishment and brutal violation of the international humanitarian law. The third freedom flotilla carries humanitarian aid for the residents of the Strip and aims to end the siege. There is no reason for trying to prevent us from reaching Gaza and forward the aid we bring with us. I request that you command the Israeli security forces to stay away and allow the flotilla to arrive at its destination. Any form of takeover to prevent this will only involve Israel in yet another difficult international scandal that you and your government will be responsible for. MK Dr. Basel Ghattas ...

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21 June
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Next stop: Gaza

Around 10 pm Friday, Ship to Gaza's trawler Marianne of Gothenburg left the port of Messina at the east coast of Sicilia and sailed out on to the Ionian sea through the strait of Messina. During the coming week Marianne will meet up with the other boats who are part of Freedom Flottila III. Together they will try to break the illegal blockade on Gaza through a peaceful non-violent action. The short stop in Messina was an intensive one with meetings with peace activists and a press conference at the city hall with the mayor of Messina, the famous corruption fighter enemy Renato Accorinti. On board at Marianne, to participate in this action, you will find: The Swedish journalist, author and social critic Kajsa Ekis Ekman The Swedish-Israeli composer and activist Dror Feiler The Canadanian scholar and activist Robert "Bob" Lovelace, a veteran within movements in support of the Indigenous peoples' rights The Spanish Member of the European Parliament Ana Maria Miranda Paza (Bloque Nacionalista Galego) Professor Gerd von der Lippe norwegian sport sociologist and former athletics stare. The following journalists will be attending: The Russian journalist Nadia Kevorkova A New Zealand team from Maoria Television, consisting of the reporter Ruwani Perera and the cameraman Jacob Bryant ...

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20 June
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Marianne reaches Messina

Ship to Gaza's fishing ship "Marianne of Gothenbug" has reached the city of Messina, Sicilia. Messina will be the last stop before the ship joins the Freedom Flottila at sea and takes part in the joint effort to sail to Gaza. Among the Freedom flottila crew you find the Swedish journalist Kajsa Ekis-Ekman and the Canadian scholar Robert "Bob" Lovelace, a life-long activist in the movements for the Indigenous peoples' rights. At Friday the "Marianne of Gothenburg" crew will take part in non-violence training. At lunch time a press conference will take place, on the initiative of the Messia city mayor. In the late afternoon, the crew will leave Messia in order to join the Freedom Flottila.   VÍDEOS...

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19 June
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Marianne arrives in Palermo, Sicily

On June 15th, ca 4 PM, the trawler Marianne av Göteborg, will be welcomed in Palermo in Sicily, Italy at the port of Cala. At 6 PM there will be a possibility for interested to meet the crew and passengers. The ship, which is headed towards the eastern Mediterranean where she will team up with other ships of the third Freedom Flotilla, carries a cargo of a solar panel and medical equipment. Lastly, the boat is solidarity cargo itself: “On arrival in Gaza port we will donate the ship to a local Fisherman’s union” says Charlie Andreasson, sailor and member of the steering committee in Ship to Gaza Sweden, one of the organizations in Freedom Flotilla Coalition. On June 16th at noon there will be a press conference to meet the activists of Marianne, with the presence of Rosario Crocetta, President of the Region of Sicily, Vincenzo Cannatella, Special Commissioner of the Port Authority of Palermo, Zaher Darwish, President of the Coordination of Solidarity with Palestine of Palermo and Paola Mandato of Freedom Flotilla Italia. Next destination of Marianne, before sailing to Gaza, will be announced during the press conference. For more about the programme Local contacts: Tiziano Ferri - Freedom Flotilla Italy +39 334 1737274...

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14 June