Archive for April, 2012

Blockade supporters, Ship to Gaza and “Ship to Syria”

April 24, 2012

I’m thrilled that the friends of the occupation, the friends of the separation wall and the friends of the blockade (take notice that I do not call them friends of Israel)—i.e. those who directly or indirectly support Israel’s systematic violations of international law—have all found a new “fresh” voice. It is going to be fascinating to watch Paula Neuding attempt to follow the same script as the friends of the occupation, friends of the separation wall and the friends of the blockade are following. Suddenly, everyone who defends/supports/understands Israel’s criminal policies is writing about “Ship to Syria”. It’s almost enough to make you laugh. If one were to think in terms of conspiracies, one would believe that someone had given the green light for a so-called “Ship to Syria” campaign.
Jackie Jackubowski in Expressen, Paula Neuding in SvD, Lisa Abramowicz on Newsmill,Benjamin Greber on Newsmill and Lars Anders Johansson in Barometern all write in what appears to be a well-orchestrated campaign quite reminiscent of past pro-Eastern Bloc campaigns. Ship to Gaza can only take note that these writers (propagandists of support for Israel’s criminal policies would be more accurately put) are acknowledging that Ship to Gaza has set a standard of sorts for international solidarity actions that enjoy extensive popular support. Of course, the articles make claims about us that we will respond to at another time and place. But, mostly, these articles are doing Ship to Gaza a favor. In fact, they rightly ask why our methods are not being implemented in other crisis situations in which our politicians have failed us.
Ship to Gaza strongly encourages these writers to put their words into action, just like we have done in the case of Gaza. If they are serious about wanting to support those who are standing up to Assad, they ought to organize demonstrations and solidarity actions. I promise that if they show up in city squares we will put money into their collection boxes.
Solidarity with the distressed people of Gaza does not stand in contrast with solidarity with other people in need; on the contrary, they fit hand in glove. The day these writers express their support for “Ship to Syria” as well as for Ship to Gaza we will take their words about human rights seriously. The day they show us that they truly support the people of Syria (and other oppressed people) we will know that their words amount to more than just rhetoric in a well- (or perhaps poorly-?) orchestrated campaign.

Blockadvännerna, Ship to Gaza och Ship to Syria

April 23, 2012

Det är kul att ockupationsvännerna, murvännerna och blockadvännerna (ni märker väl att jag inte kallar de för Israelvänner) dvs. de som stödjer direkt eller indirekt Israels folkrättsvidriga politik har fått en ny ”fräsch” röst att tillgå. Det bli intressant att se hur Paula Neuding kan följa manuset som ockupationsvännerna, murvännerna och blockadvännerna verka följa. Plötsligt skriver alla som försvarar/stödjer/förstår Israels folkrättsvidriga politik om ”Ship to Syria”. Det är nästan skrattretande. Skulle man vara benägen att tänka konspirativt så skulle man tro på att någon har gett ett klartecken för en så kallad ”Ship to Syria” kampanj.

När t.ex. Jackie Jackubowski i Expressen, Paula Neuding i SvD, Lisa Abramowicz i Newsmill, Benjamin Greber i Newsmill Och Lars Anders Johansson i Barometern skriver som i väl orkestrerad kampanj som påminner oss om forna öststatskampanjer kan vi i ”Ship to Gaza” konstatera att skribenterna (propagandister för Israelsfolkrättsvidriga politik skulle vara rättare att säga) bekräftar bara att ”Ship to Gaza” har skapat en sorts standard för internationella solidarietetsaktioner med stort folkligt stöd. Artiklarna innehåller förstås påståenden om oss som vi kommer att bemöta på tid och plats som passar oss, Men jag kan konstatera att artiklarna närmast gör ”Ship to Gaza” en tjänst. Man frågar faktiskt varför vår metod inte används i fler sammanhang där det råder en nödsituation och där politikerna sviker.

Vi i ”Ship to Gaza” uppmana dessa skribenter att (precis som vi gjort i fallet Gaza) skrida till handling. Om de menar allvar med att de vill stödja de som gör uppror mot Assad bör de organisera demonstrationer och solidaritetsrörelser. Jag lovar att om de ställer sig i olika stadscentra med insamlingsbössor så kommer vi att lägga pengar i dem.

Solidaritet med Gazas nödställda folk står inte i motsättning till solidaritet med ett annat, tvärtom de stödjer varandra. Den dag dessa skribenter uttalar sitt stöd för såväl ”Ship to Syria” som ”Ship to Gaza” kommer vi att ta deras ord om mänskliga rättigheter på allvar, att de verkligen stöder Syriens folk (och andra förtryckta folk) och att det inte bara är en tom retorisk gest i en (väl?) orkestrerad kampanj.

Ship to Gaza is buying Estelle

April 3, 2012

At a press conference the 4th of April 11.00 in Läntinen Rantakatu 67, Turku, Finland, Ship to Gaza Sweden’s spokesperson Dror Feiler, will announce the purchase of the Finnish sailing ship Estelle. The ship has been in the possession and care of Eestaas Ltd since 1985, and been used for fair trade and sea travels between Northern Europe and Africa. These are traditions that will be maintained and cherished by Ship to Gaza, a non-violent initiative and act of solidarity with one purpose: To end the inhumane and illegal siege on Gaza and its 1.6 million Palestinian inhabitants.

Estelle will be an important tool in our coming effort to end the siege. In 2010, a large, Israeli naval force, killing nine passengers and injuring some 50 people, attacked a peaceful flotilla. In 2011, a Greek government under hard pressure resigned to the Israeli blockade and detained a second Freedom Flotilla of boats in Greek ports. This was forceful and in violation of international law as well as EU laws. No government was heard to protest against this full-fledged breach with the EU principle of Freedom of movement, for people and for goods.

Freedom of movement is something the people of Gaza can only dream of. The near five year long blockade is devastating in its efficiency in keeping people and goods from moving in and out of Gaza. Enclosed in this small enclave, the people are regularly the object for attacks from Israeli military. In the aftermaths of the Flotilla in 2010, an Israeli government under pressure declared some relaxation in the blockade. This has proven to be a trick, an illusion. Illegal, collective punishment keeps on hitting people every day, week and month. Imports are, with generous calculations, approaching 40 % of the pre-blockade levels. Exports are all but eradicated and large shares of the population are dependent on international aid. The crisis is acute when it comes to power, fuel, water resources and sanitation. Maybe worst of all, is the isolation from family, friends, universities and other parts of society in the occupied territories.
Since the introduction of the blockade, 350 000 children has been born in Gaza. They know no other reality than the world’s largest open-air prison.

In March 2012 The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination expressed concern regarding “the dramatic and disproportionate impact of the Israeli Defence Forces’ blockade and military operations on Palestinians’ right to housing and basic services in the Gaza Strip”. The international community have many times condemned the blockade, and deemed it illegal. But this is not turned in to action, and mere lip service is paid to common principles and values: Human Rights. This passiveness forms a backdrop to our engagement for Ship to Gaza. We pose a simple question to ourselves and to others: Are Palestinians human beings? If the answer is yes, then the Palestinians have to be acknowledged with the same inalienable rights as others. If the answer is no? Then one has out-defined one self, rather than those one seeks to de-humanise.

The siege is not only inhumane and illegal. It is also counter-productive. When will the Arab spring, be allowed to cross the border into Gaza?

Ship to Gaza will in 2012, in a joint-effort with partners realise a whole new project, all over Europe. We will this time sail from the Nordic waters to Gaza, via harbours in the Baltic, the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. In every harbour we will organise events: In music, discussions and our voyage we will spread the word about the situation for Gaza and its people. We will bring much wanted cargo. Many will have the opportunity to participate in this peaceful journey for solidarity, on one of the many laps we will make on the way from the North to Gaza. S/V Estelle will be our ship and we will perpetuate her proud tradition to sail for fair trade and human rights.

Ship to Gaza-Sweden

Dror Feiler: +46 702855777
Mattias Gardell: +46 703036666
Ann Ighe: +46 709740739
Victoria Strand + 46 727356564

Media co-ordinator:
Mikael Löfgren: +46 707983643

För more information on Estelle’s past: