The Welcoming Ceremony For the Mavi Marmara

The Mavi Marmara “finally returned home after 219 days since the incident on may 31. Tens of thousands of people attended a welcome ceremony for the ship,” according to a press release from the Turkish IHH [Insani Yardim Vakfi – Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief – Dec 26, 2010].
The Mavi Marmara was accompanied by 80 small boats and people were waving flags of Palestine and Turkey to welcome the ship. Turkish citizens as well as hundreds of activists from 50 different countries participated in the event. Photo’s of the 9 “activists” who died during the Israeli raid were displayed at the ship. People were shouting slogans condemning Israel and showing banners protesting against the blockade of Gaza.
Among others the IHH President Bülent Yildirim spoke at the welcoming ceremony and the family members of the 9 dead “activists” attended the ceremony as well as the Swedish-Israeli “leftist activist” Dror Elimelech Feiler [1], Free Gaza legal advisor Audrey Bomse, Muhammad Sawalha (from the International Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza), Mazen Kahel (from the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza) and Ship to Gaza Greece representative Demetris Pleionis. [IHH website, Dec 26, 2010]

Photo Gallery

[1] Dror Feiler’s father met with PLO representatives in Rumania in 1978 while this was still illegal at the time. Dror Elimelech was also one of the first “refuseniks” to serve in the disputed territories. He is chairman of the Swedish organization Jews for Israeli-Palestinian Peace (JIPF) and the European organization European Jews for a Just Peace (EJJP). He was aboard the Swedish Greek boat “Sofia” involved in the Gaza flotilla clash.

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