“In Gaza, beneath the dark evening sky, somewhere between the smoky smell of gunshots and the crying children, my mother gave birth to me. It was underneath the light of the moon that I would exit her womb head first, toward the flames of war. If I had then the cognitive awareness of what war was, I might have slipped back into the refuge of a womb. Instead, the only option was, and continues to be, to live through it.” – Mohammad Rafiq
On 4 November 2011, the Tahrir, funded by grassroots donations from Canada, Australia, Belgium and Denmark, along with its cargo of some $30,000 in medical aid, was stolen by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) and never delivered to our civil society partners in Gaza. A dozen people on board, including journalists, were imprisoned in Israel and eventually deported.
In January 2012, the Canadian Boat to Gaza filed a legal claim against the Israeli military. Through diligent research, our amazing Israeli legal team established an irrefutable basis for our claim. As a result, the Canadian Boat to Gaza has received a net settlement of $185,647 CDN, about half of the Tahrir’s total costs. Although it has accepted this out-of-court settlement, it does not represent full justice for our losses, much less for those of Palestinians. Many more Palestinian boats from Gaza have been stolen and damaged by the IOF: their owners face far greater legal obstacles than we do in pursuing claims and obtaining justice.
“This settlement is a victory for us and for the entire Freedom Flotilla movement, as well as for all organizations and individuals who contributed time and money to ending the blockade of Gaza.” said Canadian-Israeli Sandra Ruch, who was the registered owner of the Tahrir, on behalf of the Canadian Boat to Gaza. “Of course, the funds from this settlement will be dedicated to the ongoing actions to help achieve full freedom of movement for all Palestinians.”
As a result of this settlement, the Canadian Boat to Gaza is not seeking donations currently, however we would be pleased to accept donations, along with sister campaigns in the Freedom Flotilla Coalition, as well as our partner in Gaza, We Are Not Numbers. Our other partner in Gaza, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (also representing Palestinian fishers), urgently needs solidarity now: please sign and send this letter supporting it and other Palestinian civil society organizations targeted by the Israeli occupation.
The Canadian Boat to Gaza is using a portion of the settlement towards purchasing much-needed new ambulances for Gaza. These new ambulances, which Freedom Flotilla Coalition partners and supporters also helped fund, are now on their way towards Palestine – we will post to social media channels when they arrive.
Thank you once again for your continued support. Together we will keep physically challenging and eventually help break the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza!
Free Gaza Australia