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Sunday May 23, 2010 5:05 PM (EST+7)
Flotilla sets sail to break the siege on Gaza

Read more: flotilla, Gaza blockade, Gaza siege, international activism

RAMALLAH, May 23 (JMCC) - A large flotilla bearing three cargo ships of building material, medical and school supplies set sail from Istanbul on Sunday bound for the Gaza Strip.

Comprised of ships and passengers from several countries including Turkey, Greece, and Ireland, the goal of the high-profile flotilla organized by the Free Gaza Movement is to break the blockade on the Strip which has been imposed by Israel since 2007.

After Israel's devastating assault on Gaza during the winter of 2008, over 75 percent of destroyed housing and infrastructure has been unable to be rebuilt, according to the latest Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) of the United Nations.

The Israeli government that it will use its navy to prevent the flotilla from reaching its destination in Gaza.

All the ships involved in the flotilla are set to congregate in Cyprus before making a final run towards Gaza. The flotilla will be the most high-profile to date because several passengers are parliamentarians from participating countries as well as the number of ships involved.

Currently, materials such as cement have been forbidden from by the Israeli military from entering Gaza, making it extremely difficult for the residents to rebuild their homes.

Greta Berlin, Chairperson of the Free Gaza Movement, has said the Israeli military has prevented the last three flotillas from reaching Gaza, according to YNet. Organizers have said the Israeli government jams satellites and cell phones in order to curtail a public relations disaster showing the military obstructing a humanitarian mission.







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