Jewish flotilla aims to break blockade

By Jessica Elgot, September 21, 2010
Mavi Marmara, the ship which inspired the JfJfP mission

Mavi Marmara, the ship which inspired the JfJfP mission

The organisers of a Jewish-run ship which aims to break Israel's naval blockade claim the boat will sail by the end of this month.

The ship, which has been co-ordinated by the British Jews for Justice for Palestinians and European Jews for a Just Peace, will have four crew members and eight other Jewish passengers, including Israeli Holocaust survivor Reuven Moskovitz, and British JfJfP activist Alison Prager.

British sailor Glyn Secker of JfJfP will captain the ship. He said it would show that "not all Jews support Israel and say emphatically: not in our name".

Kate Katzenstein-Leiterer of German Jewish Voice, one of the groups taking part in the attempt to break the blockade, said: "We plan to set sail before the end of the month but we are very afraid of sabotage, so we can't tell anyone when we will leave or where we will leave from."

The ship was originally intended to set sail in July but it was delayed by an £18,000 funding shortfall. Ms Katzenstein-Leiterer said the group needed to raise €90,000 for the endeavour in total, including buying the small craft.

The group said they intended to sail all the way to Gaza and said that they would only engage in "peaceful, passive, non-violent resistance and non-co-operation" with the Israeli authorities.

Ms Katzenstein-Leiterer added: "We are not taking too much because it is only small - it is a symbolic boat. We want to break the inhuman siege -
it punishes the children of Gaza, and that means the next generation of Palestinians are lost.

"We have run a campaign in German schools to get children to fill schoolbags with books and toys because the children of Gaza are not allowed any. [Israel does in fact allow such items into Gaza.] We have received more than 300 bags but we can only take around
15 on the boat. We also have medical supplies, musical instruments and fishing equipment."

JfJfP's website said: "The boat preparations are proceeding in readiness for the passage to the final port, from where the boat will depart to Gaza.

"The boat now has a full inventory of safety equipment, including global systems of communication, and thus has the capacity to trigger pre-prepared safety bulletins from London at a moment's notice, for both the crew's safety and the success of the mission."

Last updated: 2:53pm, September 21 2010