The Freedom Flotilla Coalition has decided to take badly needed humanitarian aid to besieged Gaza Strip
A number of South African activists are expected to join the Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FFC), made up of rights groups from several countries determined to sail to the Gaza Strip in defiance of Israel’s years-long naval blockade on the coastal enclave.
“In South Africa, over 50 people want to take part in the flotilla,” Ismail Moola of the Palestine Solidarity Alliance (PSA) told Anadolu Agency.
He said they were considering high-profile South African figures for the venture.
Moola could not give names of those who will be going on the boat from South Africa, until they receive full clearance from the ports and also know the size of the boat that they will be using.
“We can’t give you the names until we complete a selection process of who we are taking,” he said.
“We are currently seeking clearance from various ports, including Turkey and Cyprus,” asserted the activist.
He said many people have expressed interest in going to Gaza on the flotilla.
Omar Abdulkadir, a Johannesburg resident, is one of them.
“I am ready to leave my work and family and go to Gaza if selected to be part of the group,” he told AA.
Abdulkadir believes the Palestinians have a “just cause” and is willing to contribute to it.
The FFC, a solidarity movement formed in 2010 with the aim of ending the Israeli siege of Gaza, met this week in Istanbul, Turkey.
There, the group decided to challenge Israel’s naval blockade and take badly needed humanitarian aid to the besieged coastal territory sometime later this year, following more than a month of devastating Israeli attacks.
At least 1959 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed and more than 10,000 injured in Israel’s devastating onslaught.
The Israeli offensive has left a trail of massive material destruction, including thousands of homes, buildings, schools and mosques.
Palestinians and Israelis are now observing a five-day Egypt-brokered ceasefire, which came into effect in the early hours of Thursday.
A key Palestinian demand during indirect talks with Israel in Cairo was the lifting of the siege on Gaza.
Israel has imposed a watertight siege on the Gaza Strip since 2007.
“The blockade must end,” said Moola. “The people of Gaza cannot go on suffering.”
Four years ago, the Israeli navy attacked the Mavi Marmara, the lead ship in a Gaza-bound humanitarian aid flotilla, killing ten activists, including nine Turkish nationals and a Turkish-American citizen.
South Africans have held several protests since Israel began its onslaught on Gaza in early June.
Most of them empathize with the Palestinian struggle for nationhood, having faced similar conditions during South Africa’s apartheid era.
Last week, nearly 200,000 people demonstrated outside the parliament building in Cape Town to demand that their government take “decisive diplomatic action” against the self-proclaimed Jewish state for its ongoing offensive in Gaza.