Activist boat sets sail to Gaza to relaunch anti-blockade campaign
Another ship designed to break the blockade of Gaza is currently headed to the Strip to deliver aid and supplies. Activists aboard hope that there will be no repeat of the Israeli commando raid on a similar ship in 2010.
The ship, the Estelle, set sail from Sweden before docking in Finland, Norway, France, Spain and then finally in Naples, Italy, over the weekend before heading towards Gaza.
It is expected to reach the restricted zone of 20 nautical miles from the Strip around 20 October.
Onboard are 17 international activists, most from America, Norway, Sweden and Canada, including former Canadian MP James Manly, who is also an ordained minister.
The activists have stated publicly that they do not wish the ship’s trajectory to be interpreted as an act of aggression by the Israeli military.
Although the cargo is mostly aid supplies, the ship is also carrying building materials, which are expressly prohibited by Israel as part of the blockade.
A previous confrontation by Israeli forces with a similar ship, the Mavi Marmara, in 2010, left nine Turkish activists dead after Israeli commandos boarded the ship as it neared Gaza.
The Israeli blockade of Gaza began in 2007, following Hamas seizing power on the Strip.