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Monday Jan. 24, 2011 10:02 PM (EST+7)
Largest ever Gaza flotilla planned for the spring

Read more: Gaza aid ship, flotilla, Mavi Marmara, Turkel inquiry, Gaza blockade

Read RAMALLAH, December 24 (JMCC) - A giant flotilla of ships to the Gaza Strip is being planned by pro-Palestinian international groups. The ships are set to launch in the spring to coincide with the first anniversary of the Israeli navy raid on the Turkish flotilla the Mavi Marmara last May, which resulted in the death of nine activists.

The convoy of ships will be named “Freedom Flotilla 2” and is expected to include delegations from close to a dozen different countries as well as ships, for the first time, from the United States and Canada. According to the organizers, the different groups are currently in the process of collecting funds, purchasing vessels and recruiting volunteers.

On Sunday, the Turkel Committee submitted its report to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and cleared the government and the Israel Navy of wrongdoing when using lethal force to stop the Mavi Marmara from breaking the Israel-imposed sea blockade on the Gaza Strip last May.

Dror Feiler, an Israeli-Swedish musician and artist who lives in Stockholm – and one of the organizers behind the flotilla – said that the flotilla would try to reach Gaza on May 31, the same day that the Israel Navy stopped the Turkish flotilla last year.

The coalition behind the new blockade-busting effort includes the Turkish IHH and the Free Gaza Movement, both of which were involved in the May flotilla. It is demanding “an immediate and complete lifting of the closure, including a lifting of the travel ban as well as the ban on exports from Gaza.”

According to Feiler, the new flotilla will include activists from Norway, Spain, the US, Canada, Italy, Holland, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Huwaida Arraf, one of the heads of the Free Gaza movement which organized the last flotilla with the Turkish IHH organization, said that Freedom Flotilla 2 would be “non-violent” but would make every effort to reach the Gaza Strip.







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