Commentary- Janfrie Wakim on behalf of PHRC
In May 2010, nine aid workers were shot dead by Israeli commandos when a humanitarian flotilla destined for Gaza was intercepted in international waters by the Israeli Navy which is charged with enforcing the illegal and inhumane Siege of the Gaza Strip. Another flotilla, dubbed Freedom Flotilla Two, is to set sail in October 2010. Palestine Human Rights Campaign Aotearoa/New Zealand (PHRC) is raising money to enable a New Zealander to join the upcoming flotilla in the hope of breaking the Siege. If successful, the volunteer will stay on in the Gaza Strip to work for International Solidarity Movement (ISM), www.palsolidarity.org.
ISM supports the non-violent movement resisting Israel’s military occupation of Palestinian land, which includes documenting and publicising human rights violations. The Palestinian-led organisation came to international prominence in 2003 when ISM volunteers Rachel Corrie and Tom Hurndall were killed by Israeli forces. Human rights defenders, particularly ISM volunteers, are routinely denied entry to the Occupied Palestinian Territory by Israel and Egypt.
Freedom Flotilla Two is being coordinated by Free Gaza, www.freegaza.org. Free Gaza was formed to challenge directly the Israeli-Egyptian blockade by sailing ships carrying humanitarian aid and human rights defenders to Gaza. Since August 2008, Free Gaza has made eight solo voyages; most recently, it took part in the fateful May 2010 flotilla as a member of a six-partner coalition. Free Gaza has several endorsers, including notable individuals such as Desmond Tutu and Noam Chomsky, and groups with which PHRC has had some association such as Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, www.pchrgaza.org, and the Palestine Medical Relief Society, www.pmrs.ps.
Our fundraising target is $5000 ($3000 for the airfare, $2000 for living expenses including the estimate of support in the Gaza Strip, with Free Gaza raising the money to purchase the boats and cargo, and cover the cost of sailing). If, for any reason, PHRC is unable to send a New Zealander to Gaza, the money will be returned in full. Thank you.
Please make donations by direct credit PHRC 0145 0045138 00 or by sending a cheque to PHRC, Box 56150, Mt Eden, Auckland.
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