Press Release, Wednesday, March 31, Free Gaza Movement, Ireland — More info here. Free Gaza Movement to Launch Cargo Ship from Ireland Yesterday the Free Gaza Movement bought a 1200 tonne cargo ship at an auction in Dundalk, Ireland.
The vessel had been impounded a year ago following an inspection by the International Transport Federation (ITF) which found that its’ owners had exploited its Lithuanian crew members — not paying their wages and subjecting them to humiliating treatment.
“We are pleased to announce that this vessel which was used to subject workers to modern day slavery, will now be used to promote human rights for the people of Palestine,” said ITF Inspector and SIPTU organiser Ken Fleming. International Flotilla Being Organized The Free Gaza Movement now owns four ships including three passenger vessels.
Free Gaza’s ships will take part in an international flotilla taking humanitarian aid to the besieged Gaza strip this May. Passenger and cargo ships are also being organised by the Turkish humanitarian organisation I.H.H., and by groups in Greece, Sweden, Malaysia and Belgium. Two Years, Eight Missions, & Israeli Navy’s Violence Free Gaza has launched eight missions to Gaza over the past two years. Five were successful. The last two were violently stopped by the Israeli Navy.
“We have international law and the conscience of the people of the world on our side,” said Derek Graham of the Free Gaza Movement.
“We know the Irish people will not stand by and let the people of Gaza be starved and punished by Israel any longer,” Graham continued. Humanitarian Aid The Irish ship will be taking 500 tons of cement, as well as medicines, medical equipment and educational materials to the people of Gaza. Preparations Underway In preparation for the launch of the Irish ship, hospitals, trade unions, churches, mosques, families and community groups are being invited to sponsor bags of cement to help the people of Gaza to rebuild.
Caoimhe Butterly of the Free Gaza Movement said ‘We call upon the Irish people and government to support the safe passage of our mission. The siege is a form of collective, sustained and devastating punishment. Supporting the flotilla is a way for the people of Ireland to show direct solidarity with the 1.5 million Palestinians trapped in Gaza as they attempt to pick up the shattered pieces of their lives’.
The vessel, the MV Linda, will be re-named the MV Rachel Corrie, in memory of the 23 year old solidarity activist crushed to death in 2003 by an Israeli bulldozer as she attempted to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home in Gaza. The Free Gaza Movement pays tribute to Rachel and the thousands of Palestinian men, women and children killed, wounded or imprisoned under Israeli Occupation.