Danes to join new Gaza flotilla

Danish activists have announced that they will join a new flotilla of boats to the Palestinian Gaza Strip, just over a year after nine civilians were killed on-board a Turkish vessel that tried to break the Israeli blockade.

Together with protest groups from Canada, Belgium and Australia, Danish organisation Free Gaza will join a fleet of 20 in its boat named ‘Tahrir’, meaning ‘freedom’ in Arabic.

They plan to sail from Greece today in an attempt to carry humanitarian goods and construction materials to Gaza City, which has been under Israeli-forced blockade since the Battle of Gaza in 2007. Despite a slight easing of restrictions last year, the United Nations reported last week that almost a fifth of the population live on less than USD 1 a day, with most goods coming into the country via underground tunnels from Egypt.

“We have already gained a lot of support from all over the country,” said John Ekebjaerg-Jakobsen, a member of the Danish delegation, in a press conference on Thursday, 16th June. “What’s important is that when we get to Gaza we can continue to support the work that is being done there. But first and foremost we need to break the Israeli blockade,” he added.

In May last year, the Israeli military was condemned by the international community after a bloody raid on a flotilla looking to bring goods to the Gaza Strip. The latest effort plans to donate goods to NGOs operating in the region, rather than the government.

“The Israelis know we are coming but we don’t need their permission to sail to Gaza,” Adam Qvist from Free Gaza said. “We are going to sail from international waters into the Palestinian waters and Israel doesn’t have the right to stop us there,” he added in a Copenhagen Post report.

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