A group of women from all over the world [embarked yesterday] on a dangerous journey on board the Women’s Boat to Gaza (WBG). Two vessels [left] from Barcelona on 14 September with the goal of reaching the besieged Palestinian enclave by early October in a symbolic breaking of the Israeli-Egyptian blockade.
One of these women is Zohar Chamberlain Regev, an Israeli citizen who was born and raised in Kibbutz Kfar Hahoresh, near Nazareth. She has been living in Spain for the past 12 years and has been involved in the Spanish component of Freedom Flotilla work since 2012. She coordinates the Women’s Boat to Gaza Steering Committee and is a team leader on board the Amal.“We want to give visibility to women in Palestine who have been struggling alongside the men since before the Nakba, since the beginning of the Zionist colonization of Palestine,” says Regev.
Lifting the Gaza siege
Another main objective of WBG is to contribute to the Palestinian call to the international community to help end the illegal occupation of Palestine and lift the siege on Gaza that is now entering its 10th year. The international community is mostly in agreement that the siege on Gaza is illegal. However, little has been done by world leaders to end the collective punishment of the civilian population.
Abu Bakra explains: “It’s very important for the Palestinians to know that there are people in the world who know and care about their struggle, because for a long time it has been a relatively invisible one. International acts of solidarity give Palestinians a shot of hope and the drive to continue their struggle.
“Our message to the world is that they have to look at Gaza and pay attention to Gaza. It is a call to action that they have to do something and not just sit there.”
Boat confiscations, arrests and deaths
This is the Freedom Flotilla Coalition’s (FFC) fourth and latest initiative to steer the world’s attention back to the untenable conditions that Palestinians of Gaza are forced to live under. It is a call for an immediate end to the siege.
Previous attempts by the FFC and others to break the Gaza siege by sea have led to boats being intercepted by the Israeli navy. The Israeli navy has repeatedly attacked, arrested and imprisoned crew and participants, in addition to confiscating boats and property belonging to crew and members. The most notorious case was the Mavi Marmara in 2010, when the Israeli military killed 10 activists on board the ship and wounded more than 50 passengers.
Goldsmith says the women are well aware of the likelihood they will be intercepted by force by the Israelis. “Our goal is always to challenge and break the illegal blockade of Gaza, however, we do know that for the past four flotillas, Israel has intercepted them illegally in international waters and has kidnapped the people on the boats and detained them against their will.”
Oh, and by the way, the Israelis have started in on bombing Gaza again.