Freedom Flotilla: All You Need to Know

From 2008 to 2016, international activists have sailed 31 boats to challenge the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza. (Photo: ActiveStills.org)

The International Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FFC) is “a grassroots people-to-people solidarity movement composed of campaigns and initiatives from all over the world working together to end the blockade of Gaza.”

Read: ‘Freedom Flotilla’: Latest Updates (LIVE BLOG)

The Freedom Flotilla Coalition was formed after the 2010 Freedom Flotilla mission, in order to coordinate action between numerous local campaigns that joined the efforts against the siege of the Gaza Strip, although the first mission to challenge Israeli naval blockade of Gaza dates back to 2008.

On August 23, 2008, 44 ordinary people from 17 different countries sailed from Cyprus to Gaza on two small wooden boats, the Free Gaza, and the Liberty.

From 2008 through 2016, international activists have sailed 31 boats to challenge the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza.

On January 12-15, 2009, the ferry boat called The Spirit of Humanity with 36 passengers, was forced by the Israeli navy to turn back and return to Cyprus.

In February 2009, the cargo ship Tali was attacked by the Israeli Army and forcefully taken to Israel.

Detention of Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire and other human rightsactivists on the Free Gaza Movement mission to deliver aid to the peopleof Gaza by boat.

Gepostet von Dawn PeaceJam Engle am Mittwoch, 1. Juli 2009

On June 29-July 7, 2009, the Spirit of Humanity was forcefully stopped by Israeli forces. Its 21 passengers were taken to Israeli prison and deported, and the boat taken to Israeli harbor of Haifa.

The Gaza Flotilla Raid (2010)

In 2010, Israeli forces launched the Gaza Flotilla Raid, a military operation against the civilian ships of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, which were supposed to challenge the Israeli naval blockade.

Gaza flotilla attack: activist releases new footage 6-11-2010

Gaza flotilla attack: activist releases new footageWarning: contains graphic scenesNOTE: It's possible that this clip may be excerpts from a longer video, as there is one-hour presentation of this video on YouTube here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwsMJmvS0AYDocumentary maker Iara Lee smuggles out video despite Israeli attempt to confiscate all recordingsIsraeli Attack on the Mavi Marmara, May 31st 2010 // 15 min. from Cultures of Resistance on Vimeo. New footage has emerged of the Israeli assault on a convoy of aid ships headed to Gaza in which nine activists were killed.The high-quality film was reportedly recorded by New York-based documentary maker Iara Lee aboard the Mavi Marmara, the Turkish ship that bore the brunt of the Israeli attacks.Israel attempted to confiscate all footage recorded by participants in the Gaza Freedom flotilla – including taking away mobile phones – but Lee managed to smuggle one hour of video out of the country by hiding it in her underwear, it was reported.The 15 minutes of film posted online shows the moments leading up to and during the Israeli commandos' assault on the Mavi Marmara.At one stage, the captain of the boat can be heard over the public address system saying: "Do not show resistance … They are using live ammunition … Be calm, be very calm." Gunshots can be heard.The film includes footage of an Israeli inflatable boat carrying commandos, and troops can be seen rappelling from a helicopter on to the Mavi Marmara. While they do so, two men on the Marmara can be seen using catapults aimed at the soldiers, who are high above them, although the projectiles they are firing cannot be ascertained.At one point, a passenger on the boat says to the camera: "[The activists] hold two soldiers down here, bleeding and wounded." One soldier can be seen being carried down the stairs of the vessel. In an interview with Democracy Now, Lee said the soldiers were injured in the commotion. "They got treatment by our passengers," she said.A number of passengers are shown in the video receiving medical treatment for wounds, including one man being resuscitated. He does not appear to respond. At the end of the footage a woman can be heard shouting: "We have no guns here, we are civilians taking care of injured people. Don't use violence, we need help."Lee described the attack as terrifying. "[The Israelis] came to kill," she said. "They wanted to take over the ship."More than 600 pro-Palestinian activists were detained by Israel in the 31 May raids on the aid convoy. There was global condemnation of the assault but Israel claimed its troops acted in self-defence after coming under attack from members of an "extremist" Turkish group.It announced on Monday it would conduct an internal investigation into the incident, defying pressure for a thorough international inquiry.The UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions said any inquiry set up by Israel should include "all video and other records of the incident, including those confiscated from civilians". Philip Alston said it must be able to interview all key witnesses, including military personnel."Any inquiry set up by Israel to investigate the Gaza flotilla incident must be given a genuine capacity to find the facts. Without that capacity an inquiry will simply not be considered credible."Alston said the inquiry must be independent of government, have full legal authority to investigate and make its final report open to the public.

Gepostet von John Jones am Freitag, 11. Juni 2010

Israeli military violently attacked all 7 boats, killing 9 on the Mavi Marmara with another passenger dying later, and wounding over 50.  Passengers on all boats were assaulted, kidnapped and taken against their will to Israel where they were interrogated, imprisoned and deported.

These are the names of the ten humanitarians killed by Israeli forces:

Ibrahim Bilgen
Ali Haydar Bengi
Cevdet Kiliçlar
Çetin Topçuoglu
Necdet Yildirim
Fahri Yaldiz
Cengiz Songür
Cengiz Akyüz
Furkan Dogan
Ugur Suleyman Soylemez

The Gaza’s Ark Project (2013-2014)

After several international missions, in 2013 and 2014, with financial and logistical support from friends around the world, Palestinian workers transformed a 25-meter long fishing boat into a cargo boat to sail out of Palestine from the port of Gaza City, launching the so-called Gaza’s Ark project.

Awni Farhat has volunteered over 1000 hours of his time to Gaza's Ark over the last two years and to say that without…

Gepostet von GazaArk am Freitag, 19. Dezember 2014

Gaza’s Ark challenged the blockade by working with Palestinians on the ground, together bringing hope and empowerment to the besieged community.

However, in the early morning of April 29, 2014, an explosion occurred on the boat and extensive damage was caused.

Gaza's Ark, a Palestinian-built protest boat which was preparing to run Israel's naval blockade of the territory, was badly damaged in an explosion on Tuesday that organizers blamed on Israel.

Gepostet von Al Arabiya English am Dienstag, 29. April 2014

However, Gaza Ark’s organizers were determined to continue to work on the project.

On July 8, 2014, Israel launched the military offensive ‘Protective Edge’,  which killed more than two thousand people, injured thousands more and caused massive destruction across the Gaza Strip.

GAZA'S ARK Im sorry butThats what's left of gaza's ark We thank gods self acclaimed chosen nation for the destruction of gaza's only ship Thank you ' you devilish israeli squattersPlease share

Gepostet von Ibrahim Mohammed am Freitag, 11. Juli 2014

On July 10, 2014, Gaza’s Ark was hit by a missile and was quickly destroyed by flames.

Women’s Boat to Gaza (2016)

The Freedom Flotilla Coalition has launched the Women’s Boat to Gaza (WBG) to highlight the vital role women play not only in the resistance movement but in the survival of the Palestinian people as a whole.

WBG’s mission is to raise awareness about the ongoing struggle that women in Gaza, in the West Bank, inside the so-called Green Line, and in the shatat (diaspora), have waged and continue to wage against Israeli Occupation.

2018, “The Return”

2018 marks the 70th anniversary of the Nakba (the Catastrophe) – the forced displacement of the native Palestinian population from their homeland, later renamed Israel.

In 2018 the International Freedom Coalition has set sail again to challenge the blockade.

Coordinator of Kia Ora Gaza, Roger Fowler helps to coordinate the Freedom Flotilla Coalition's 2018 sailing For a Just Future for Palestine.

Gepostet von Freedom Flotilla Coalition am Sonntag, 22. April 2018

This year, the main ship is named Al Awda (The Return) to underline the importance of the Palestinian right to return to the lands they have been expelled from.

(PC, Social Media)

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