Ahmad H. Aggour (Egypt)
It’s been almost 3 years now ever since the blockade of Gaza had started, from June 2007 when Hamas had seized control of the region. And ever since then, over 1.5 million Gazans have been cut off from all aspects of the outside World, suffocating in a small strip that’s no more than 360 square kilometers big (139 square miles) in a constant state of oppression, brutalization and gradual dehumanization by the Israeli Government in cooperation with the Egyptian Government. Can you imagine living in such a densely populated area?! Take my advice from a person who lives in Cairo; being also densely populated, I assure you it’s not fun, especially when to the rest of the World out there, you’re almost virtually incommunicado.
Then came the war in 2008, Operation ‘Cast Lead’ with the purpose of halting the rocket launches made by Hamas, and lasting for about 3 weeks, with no positive result, “just” the deaths of approximately 1,417 Palestinians, with over 400 women and children, along with the use of illegal weapons of war, e.g. White phosphorus and DIME explosives, that targeted buildings, vehicles and people without discrimination.
Shortly after this event, came the idea of the Gaza Freedom March, triggered by this war, over 1,300 activists from over 40 countries, including myself had converged in Cairo, set out to deliver humanitarian aid to the Gazans. And after weeks of demonstrating and protesting in Cairo, then al-Arish. The Rafah crossing was finally opened and over 150 trucks of food and medicinal supplies got to pass through. It felt good, I felt good I had the opportunity to participate in such an event with the rest of the few Egyptian activists who joined me there as well.
And right now, the Freedom Flotilla sets out to aid Gaza; a group of ships; starting with the MV Rachel Corrie, a cargo ship, that set sail from Ireland are coming from several corners of the Mediterranean Sea to gather in international waters to deliver some 5,000 tons of building and medical supplies to the population under siege in Gaza in what a statement called the “biggest internationally coordinated effort to directly challenge Israeli’s ongoing occupation, aggression, and violence against the Palestinian people.”
Over 600 pro-Palestinian activists from over 40 countries aboard nine ships, coming from the UK, Sweden, Greece, Turkey, and an Algerian cargo ship joining in as well, funded by the Algerian peace movement, all set to meet at Greece, then setting out to attempt and break the siege imposed on Gaza by Israel, which has deprived 1.5 million Palestinians of fuel, food, and other basic necessities.
The Free Gaza Movement has sailed eight missions to Gaza in the past three years, five of them successful. The last three were violently stopped by the Israeli Navy; the boat Dignity was rammed three times and the Spirit of Humanity turned back in January 2009, then it was seized and all that was aboard was arrested.
And how does Israel’s Zionist regime respond this time?
An Israeli flotilla sets off from the shores of Herzliya as a response to the pro-Palestinian convoy with banners showing Gaza rocket fire toward Israel and photos of the captured IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. Disregarding all the crimes that were committed by the IDF against the Palestinians as in the aid convoy would suddenly change their minds after seeing something like this, as if they’re saying: “All the Gazans deserve this, they’re all terrorists, all responsible for the rockets and the capture of Gilad Shalit”.
The Israeli Government accuses the IHH and the Free Gaza Movement of “supporting terrorism” and serving Hamas; with half the Israeli Navy set to stop the mission; with two naval ships already sailing around the coastal areas of Gaza, the air force on standby and diplomatic pressure being applied. Despite the efforts of Gush Shalom calling on the Israeli Government to allow the aid convoy to reach Gaza, stating that:
“The State of Israel has no interest in footage of its navy violently assaulting against peace activists at sea flooding television screens all over the world. It is time to remove the suffocating siege and allow residents of Gaza to have free contact with the outside world, freely operate sea and air ports of their own like any country in the world.”
Such a typical Zionist response from the Israeli Government, the message is quite clear: “We will stop you, and use any force necessary to achieve so” , which shows nothing but how weak the position of Israel is internationally regarding the plight of the Palestinians, I think the World, especially the Jewish people should now start to realize how Nazi-like the Zionist regime has become, and how many of the oppressed have become the oppressors, and just like the World stopped Nazism and the apartheid in South Africa, it should stop Zionism. Let’s help stop another Holocaust from happening, let’s end the let’s end the ethnic cleansing process and the brutality that’s being shown to Palestinians to help avert another genocide.