On Monday, the Gaza Freedom Flotilla Coalition, an international coalition comprising 10 ships, will sail to Gaza to deliver goods blocked by Israel’s three-year illegal blockade.
The Ma’an News Agency reports that Israel is making military preparations against the unarmed flotilla, although the coalition is not violating any international laws. An Israeli security source told the Ma’an News Agency that authorities will prevent the arrival of the boats “at any price.”
The flotilla will deliver construction equipment to address the December 2008–January 2009 assault on Gaza, which caused catastrophic damage on the Palestinian people and on their infrastructure. The United Nations’ Goldstone Report documented the destruction of nearly 3,000 buildings including schools, mosques, sewage treatment facilities, farms and factories. More than 1,400 people were murdered, including 400 children.
Previous relief efforts have delivered primarily emergency aid including medical supplies, but the Freedom Flotilla will also carry Israeli-banned basic building supplies such as cement, pipes for irrigation and plumbing, and wire. The flotilla will also deliver blocked items such as paper and books.
The illegal, three-year Israeli blockade is systematically denying Gazans the ability to restore their lives to normality. Israel’s blockade also prevents the importation of basic food items such as spices, fresh meat, livestock, seeds and nuts — leading to high levels of malnutrition.
Shockingly, Israel blocks fabric, sewing machines, musical instruments, pencils, paper, heaters, and even children’s toys.
These actions taken by Israel against the Palestinians constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity.
To join the international effort to address this humanitarian crisis, you can:
1. Write your representatives and demand a congressional motion to end the blockade and to fund the rebuilding of Gaza.
2. Boycott Israeli goods (see list at bigcampaign.org).
3. Join the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center’s Middle East Collective, meeting at 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Mondays of the month at 3970 Broadway, Suite 105, Boulder (303-444-6981 or rmpjcmec.wordpress.com).
4. Donate to the Free Gaza Movement (freegaza.org/en/donate).
Ralph Loeffler is a human rights activist and resident of Boulder.