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Ship to Gaza Sweden vessel sets sail again

7 Oct 2012, 13:05

Published: 07 Oct 2012 13:05 GMT+02:00

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A crowd of well-wishers saw off the sailing vessel Estelle as it left the Italian port as part of the "Freedom Flotilla" movement.

"We think it will take around two weeks to get to Gaza, but it will obviously also depend on the weather conditions," spokeswoman Ann Ighe told the AFP news agency.

The Estelle, whose voyage was organized by an international pro-Palestinian coalition, is carrying humanitarian goods to the Gaza Strip.

The 17 activists from around the world on board include passengers and crew from Sweden, Norway, Canada, the United States and Israel.

Israel says the blockade against Gaza is necessary to prevent weapons from entering the coastal territory, which is run by the Islamist movement Hamas.

The Free Gaza movement landed in hot water last month after its founder, Greta Berlin, tweeted that "Zionists operated the concentration camps and helped murder millions of innocent Jews."

The tweet linked to a video of Eustace Mullins, a conspiracy theorist, claiming that the word “Nazi” combines the words “National Socialist” and “Zionist.”

The organization Ship to Gaza Sweden quickly issued a statement:

"This movie link and its content have since been connected to Ship to Gaza Sweden and this year’s Freedom Flotilla mission. Let’s make it clear that our action is not anti-Semitic, and furthermore is not organised in co-operation with the Free Gaza Movement," the organization said.

The first Freedom Flotilla in May 2010 ended in tragedy when nine Turkish nationals were killed after Israeli commandos boarded the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara, the lead ship, as it tried to break through the blockade.

"When people think of flotillas, they think of the Mavi Marmara. But the Estelle is very different, she was chosen to change the perception of the campaign, to show that it's a non-violent campaign," spokeswoman Ighe said.

At just 53 metres (173 feet) long, the Estelle is much smaller than the Marmara ferry, and has sails as well as an engine.

"It is a vessel that has travelled for Greenpeace protests and on fair-trade missions. The Estelle is a peaceful ship," Ighe said.

Story continues below…

Naples mayor Luigi de Magistris said Friday on visiting the Estelle:

"This is not an initiative in favour of Hamas but in favour of Palestine, of the Palestinians who live in Gaza, and in favour of two states living as neighbours in peace and security."

The Estelle set off originally from Stockholm and arrived in the Gulf of Naples on Thursday after a tour of Europe, including Finland, France and Spain. The crew will now attempt to reach and enter Gaza.

AFP/The Local/nr

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Your comments about this article

13:08 October 7, 2012 by Rishonim
Why not set the sail to Syria? One would think with all the despair and trepidation the Syrian people are facing the flotilla would bring some well needed relief.
13:43 October 7, 2012 by Extranjero
I think that was an excellent comment. Fortunately a don´t have to be ashamed, I am no longer a Swedish citizens - don´t blame me for the Swedish antisemitism!
14:46 October 7, 2012 by Rishonim

Mejor descripción seria llamarles yeguas encegadas que sufren de ignorancia supina. ;-)
14:55 October 7, 2012 by aspblom
The Estelle is a Swedish-owned sailing ship sailing under the Finnish flag.

The Estelle was previously owned and operated by the Finnish Eestaas aid organisation. It was sold last winter to the Swedish "Ship to Gaza" group.

The crew of 17 includes two Finns - the captain Mika Jämiä and bo'sun Wellu Koivisto. The Local has a habit of forgetting to note Finnish connections in its articles.
15:29 October 7, 2012 by Grokh
I dont get these rights activists , sure there are people who get affected by the whole thing, but a huge percentage of those people are those who would dance on any westerner grave, burn their flags, and assemble a lynch mob to kill them.

and im not even mentioning the terrorists who hide there. There are palestinians who live just fine in israel if they want to. Lobbing missiles and constantly appealing to violence is not the way they will solve the issues in the region, and foreign aid doesnt seem to make them see that all the west they despise are the countries feeding them so why bother. there are a lot of african countries that would welcome that aid much better without trying to start a war.
16:02 October 7, 2012 by Iraniboy
I think this should be added to Guinness world record as the world's most irrelevant accusation where shipping medicine and food to Palestinians is act of antisemitism! Well done! @ Extranjero and Rishonim!

Why Israel and not Syria?! Because it is due to US and European countries' blind support for Israel that we see these inhuman consequences. As for Syria it should be Iranians to send food and medicine to poor Syrians since the Syrian government is supported by Iran. People of a country have a duty to alter the misfortune and misery caused by their governments policies elsewhere!
16:29 October 7, 2012 by Rishonim
Iraniboy. Inhumane is what your buddy Assad and his Iranian cohorts are doing to the Syrian people. I am sure you would rather turn a bling eye to the crimes against the Syrians because after all; killing of Muslims is ok as long as those doing the killing are other Muslims. As for the Palestinian leadership, well, they would rather cry wolf while shooting rockets into Israel and beg for handouts like poor lepers from the international community. They, (the Palis bloodsucking leaders) will forever be viewed as the leaches of the world.

Dr. Tashbih Sayyed, then American journalist and author of Pakistani origin, denied that Muslim Arab citizen of Israel do not have equal rights, and said that Arabs are protected by Israel's democratic principles, and afforded all the rights and privileges of Israeli citizenship. He noted that Israel is amongst the Middle Eastern countries giving Arab women the right to vote. Sayyed asserted that Muslim women are "more liberated in Israel than in any Muslim country"

While groups are not separated by official policy, Israel has a number of different sectors within the society that maintain their strong cultural, religious, ideological, and/or ethnic identity. The Israeli Foreign Ministry maintains that in spite of the existing social cleavages and economic disparities, the political systems and the courts represent strict legal and civic equality. The Israeli Foreign Ministry describes the country as "Not a meltingpot society, but rather more of a mosaic made up of different population groups coexisting in the framework of a democratic state"

According to Ishmael Khaldi, an Arab citizen of Israel and the nation's first high-ranking Muslim in the Israeli foreign service, while Israeli society is far from perfect, minorities in Israel fare far better than any other country in the Middle East.

He wrote: I am a proud Israeli - along with many other non-Jewish Israelis such as Druze, Bahai, Bedouin, Christians and Muslims, who live in one of the most culturally diversified societies and the only true democracy in the Middle East. Like America, Israeli society is far from perfect, but let us deal honestly. By any yardstick you choose - educational opportunity, economic development, women and gay's rights, freedom of speech and assembly, legislative representation - Israel's minorities fare far better than any other country in the Middle East.[200]

In 2009, the Israeli Arab Journalist Khaled Abu Toameh declared to a Muslim audience during the Durban Review Conference, that while there are serious problems facing the Arab secter in Israel, "Israel is a wonderful place to live and we are happy to be there. Israel is a free and open country. If I were given the choice, I would rather live in Israel as a second class citizen than as a first class citizen in Cairo, Gaza, Amman or Ramallah.
16:30 October 7, 2012 by olive_tree
Well said@Iraniboy.
19:14 October 7, 2012 by JOHNATAN
No problem for delivering food and medicine to Gazza.

The UN and the Red Croce do it for years.

If that ship wish to bring that stuff to Gazza they may put all of it on trucks in Ashdod port after the Israeli security will make it certain there are no weapons ,then they can cross all the people aboard that ship with the food and medicine on the trucks and buses to Gazza strip through Erez border pass.

I do not think there is possibile a direct shipment through the sea.
19:14 October 7, 2012 by occassional
Can't these do gooders start working closer to home for once? Malmö and all that goes on down there should keep them busy for a while.
20:04 October 7, 2012 by Iraniboy

I see you have reading problem too! I clearly opposed what Iran and Syrian government are going. Since my position doesn't suit your prejudice you turned a blind eye and ignored the part I talked about Syria!


"Israeli security will make it certain there are no weapons ,then they can cross all the people aboard that ship with the food and medicine on the trucks and buses to Gazza strip through Erez border pass."

I don't know how much informed you are but that is not accepted by Israel. They don't even allow passing of food and medicine. That's their definition of current blockade. Starving till they die! That's why the whole issue is more of moral and human duty not political!
21:44 October 7, 2012 by Beavis
will those lovely peace loving lads from real ira/sinnfein be on board this boat too? Always some stupid fools who think they are helping the poor people get suckered into this. The last boat had well known gansters on board and most probably they are on this one too- hope it sinks wit hthem in it
21:59 October 7, 2012 by calebian22
Some of us, support you unconditionally, Israel. Do what you need to do.
22:39 October 7, 2012 by JOHNATAN

I am well informed.

I live in Beer Sheva and work in Erez Pass for years.

The Pass was closed just during the wars between Hamas and Israel.

On regular days it is open to all kind of Goods Food , and other Stuff who cross from Israel to the Gazza strip,every day the trucks pass from 9:00 in the morning untill 17:00 afternoon.

The Goods are transprted by Israeli driver untill the Cross and from there taken by Gazzan trucks inside.

And yes from time to time when they shot Grads on Beer Sheva-we close that paass,you can not work during a war.

Beer -Sheva

09:47 October 8, 2012 by Prat
One of the executed aboard the Mavi Marmara was American, an 18-year old from New York, Furkan Dogan. Rest In Peace.

Suffering in Gaza does not help Israel. A continuing tragic miscalculation.
09:52 October 8, 2012 by Uncle
iraniboy is engaging in lies as usual, at the same time as the entire islamic world continues to engage in its favourite hobby - murdering innocents from Phillipines to Nigeria.

"They don't even allow passing of food and medicine."

Like saying that Kivik is under blockade just because the goods that arrive there must go through customs somewhere in Skåne.

Gaza is #1 receiver of humanitarian aid per capita,as well as #1 receiver of foreign funds per capita in the world (funds that are invested into rocket making of course).

This humanitarian aid is obviously appearing in Gaza by the magical power of Allah and not through the borders with Israel. Mohammad himself is sitting there with magic wand and makes the aid a reality.

Apparently when Israel proposes to SOME freedom fighters to deliver the goods under THEIR supervision through Israeli territory after security search, it is not accepted and an excellent reasoning to tell horror stories about "zionist regime". I wonder why there is such an opposition to search in "medical equipment" and "food". Mmmm?
10:18 October 8, 2012 by JOHNATAN

first I am sorry for every civilian who die in that conflict, specialy and absulotly not neccessary is the involvment of forgein citizens in a conflict not belong to them.

Marmara had to obay to our navy order and if the people aboard would not have started phisical violance against our soldiers and would have obayed their orders it would be terminated without victims, exactly as it did happen with the ships which followed the Marmara.

Hamas must stop firing rockets on our southern cities and villages, must recognize the 2 states solution, and must agree to a dialogue.
11:14 October 8, 2012 by CanadianInSweden
I am embarrassed fellow canadians are on that ship...
11:25 October 8, 2012 by RosemarysBaby80
I am not a supporter of Hamas, and have never been a fan of conspiracy theories. But trying to help Palestine free themselves of the Israeli apartheid is a noble cause.
12:42 October 8, 2012 by JOHNATAN

the Palestinian are under occupation since 1967 just in the west bank and not in all that territory, most of it is under control of the Palestinian Authority.

The defintion Aphartheid is wrong as the Palestinians in the west bank in the zones which are still under Israeli occupation are not Israelies and that territories are not belong to Israel by international law.

The conflict is to be solved just through direct negotiations between all parties ,every side will have to give up his"all dreams" and to make steps backwords in order to bring the peace,and the heart of the border is the recognition of the right of Israel to exsist in its secure borders along with a Palestinian state, that formulla must be accepted not just by Abu Mazen but alsoby Hanie from Hamas.Israel will have to withdrow from west bank as it did allready in Gazza in change for a true stabile peace,in that time also the blocade over Gazza will be over and the borders of the two states will be a peacefull one.

This is the only way I know to resolve the issue,wars and terrorism will bring just more suffering both sides ,much more in the Palestinian one.

Forgein citizen who whish to support the Palestinians with medicine and food may do it with UNRA they do a very good job.

getting in conflicts with the Israeli army will not resolve the issue.
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