FFC statement, January 19-20, 2013, Rome.
The Freedom Flotilla Coalition met in Rome for two days of discussion of our past work and future plans, as we continue our struggle against the illegal and inhuman blockade of Gaza. Representatives from campaigns in Canada, Greece, Norway, Spain, and Sweden, as well as from the International Committee for Breaking the Siege of Gaza, were hosted by our colleagues in Italy.
Following the success of the Estelle ship to Gaza, which from May to October 2012 drew attention to the blockade and showed that many European ports are open to navigation to and from Palestine, the international Freedom Flotilla Coalition is happy to announce that we have adopted Gaza’s Ark as a campaign. Gaza’s Ark is a new initiative which will rebuild a boat in Gaza to challenge the Israeli blockade, stimulate the local economy and encourage trade (see GazaArk.org for further details). A number of our national initiatives in various countries committed to support Gaza’s Ark in different ways: by contributing funds, by encouraging the sale of shares, by arranging for the purchase of goods which will be exported on the Ark, and / or by building civil society support in our countries and pressing our governments for political support for the freedom of Palestinians in Gaza to export their products freely by sea.
The Freedom Flotilla Coalition also decided to initiate a project to support the fishermen of Gaza in their struggle to access all of the Palestinian waters in which they have a right to fish.
We continue to demand that the international community support the legitimate rights of the Palestinians of Gaza to full and unrestricted freedom of movement. We also demand the return of all boats seized by the Israeli occupation navy: both Palestinian fishing boats and the many vessels from previous international solidarity sailings to challenge the blockade.
National campaigns and supporters everywhere are encouraged to make this statement known as widely as possible, to supporters, to media and to the general public.