Yesterday, one year to the day of the Free Gaza movement’s historic landing at Gaza port (the 1st in over 40 years), various Palestinian NGOs and organizations held a press conference, calling for the siege on Gaza (over3 years! unbelieveable!!) to be halted, for humanitarian goods to enter, and for Gaza’s Palestinians to have a shot at the just life that so many of us outside Gaza enjoy.
The first Free Gaza voyage brought 2 old boats (certainly no match for Israel’s state of the art, US-funded navy) and a random bunch of internationals with justice on their minds and Palestinians’ suffering in their hearts. Following that, 4 more voyages successfully docked in Gaza’s port, and another 3 were forcibly stopped by the Israeli occupation forces navy.
After a press conference pledging on-going voyages from Free Gaza, and calling for Arab nations to wake up and join in solidarity (with a Strip so besieged and massacred that one can’t imagine. Nor can one turn away having seen the intentional destruction of Gaza), Palestinians and the international supporters present climbed aboard one of the many fishing boats not getting much use these days and toured around Gaza’s harbour areas.
A sunny day, a breeze, good memories… but the current reality of gross manufactured poverty, joblessness, illness, and a devastated landcape is not a reality which is easy to ignore. Certainly not with the visible reminders of the Israeli authorities attacks on buildings, fishermen and their boats, hospitals, schools, people, the economy, the health care system………….
*stand fishing: fishermen wait until spotting a gathering of fish before they cast their nets and haul in what sparse catches they might have in over-fished waters near Gaza’s shore, thanks to brutal Israeli imposition of a 3 mile limit in Palestinian waters.