Handala Heads to Caleta de Vélez, Málaga

With the determination that comes from being on the right side of justice and humanity, the Freedom Flotilla with its ship Handala continues its tireless journey through European ports seeking solidarity and support for the Palestinians of Gaza. After reaching the Mediterranean, on Tuesday, July 9, Handala is scheduled to arrive from Lisbon to the port of Caleta de Vélez in Málaga, where it will be welcomed by local activists.

The flotilla is sailing through European ports on its way to Gaza to provide and gather support and solidarity. In all ports of call activists and the general public have been aware of the unjust and inhumane situation to which the Palestinians of Gaza are being subjected including the incessant bombardment and attacks since October.

The local solidarity groups have organized great events and Flotilla crew and activists have appreciated being included and participating in these events in and around Handala’s visit. The meetings with politicians and institutions are a fundamental part of this trip to Gaza. We have been promoting the concern about the lack of sanctions against Israel after more than 38,000 murders of civilians including almost 17,000 children, and 83,000 wounded, in addition to the almost total destruction of civilian infrastructure: homes, hospitals, schools, universities, mosques, churches, cemeteries, factories, cultivation areas, etc.

It should be remembered that while all this is happening in Gaza and the focus there seems to be losing interest, in the West Bank the attacks by the Israeli Occupation Forces and settlers are intensifying. Arrests and killings occur daily, at least one minor is killed every day in the West Bank; Israel announces another confiscation of Palestinian land and construction of new illegal settlements, defined as such by the United Nations.

The support group for the Freedom Flotilla in Vélez Málaga has prepared a program to welcome the ship.
On Wednesday 10 there will be an institutional welcome ceremony for the Flotilla by the Citizen Platform Axarquia with Palestine, this will be held in the Fishermen’s Guild of La Caleta at which the president of the Commonwealth of Municipalities and several mayors of the Axarquia will be present and to which all political groups are invited.

That same day there will be a demonstration for Palestine in Torre del Mar and an evening concert.
The program is completed with several visits of members of the Flotilla to cooperatives and ancient olive trees, the Bandolero museum, and a dramatized visit of Andalusian heritage.

On board Handala are traveling activists, medical personnel, politicians, artists from different countries, which are changing in each port in order to have a wide representation. In Vélez, Juan Lisbona, businessman and cooperant belonging to the Platform Axarquia for Palestine, and Ibrahim Abiat, Palestinian refugee and deportee, will board the ship for the trip to Dénia, the next and last port in the Iberian Peninsula. In 2002 Ibrahim and 122 other people were besieged and attacked by the Israeli army in the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem for 39 days, eight of those people were killed and 25 wounded. After intense negotiations with the European Union, 13 of the besieged people were deported directly to different European Union countries. As a result of these negotiations, Ibrahim and two of his companions arrived in Spain.

Handala will continue to sail to European ports in the Mediterranean and will head directly to Gaza in August.
The Freedom Flotilla is composed of civil society organizations and grassroots groups from many countries, which has been challenging the illegal and inhumane Israeli blockade of Gaza since 2011. We sail this year to end the brutal siege of the Gaza Strip, to denounce the genocide and occupation of Palestine.

We sail for the children of Gaza, for the children of all Palestine.