Free Gaza boats are going fishing

From the Free Gaza campaign:

We’re going fishing

25 August 2008

NOTE on fishing restrictions imposed by Israel on the fishermen of Gaza.  These restrictions are also intended to stop Palestinians from reaching the outside world and from the world reaching Gaza.  Israeli naval boats and warships constantly patrol the waters to prevent any breach of the prohibited area.   The boats of human rights activists openly defied this clear and present danger to challenge Israel’s claim that it no longer occupies Gaza.  It remains to be seen if their safe arrival on the shores of Gaza will in fact mean that the Palestinians will finally have access to the outside world once the media spotlight is no longer trained on the area.  The 1.4 million population ammed into this tiny strip of land has no way of getting out through the land crossing points either.   Israeli forces prevent exit and entry whether it is for work, medical needs, studying requirements or family and social visits.  Simply, Israel prevents the very real human right of Palestinians to move freely in and out of their own territory.  Israel claims that this is not occupation. In fact, it is worse:  Gaza is a maximum security prison where the “inmates” are completely at the mercy of their jailer, Israel.



For More Information, please contact:
(Gaza) Huwaida Arraf, tel.  +972 599 130 426
(Gaza) Jeff Halper, tel.  +972 542 002 642
(Cyprus) Osama Qashoo, tel.  +357 99 793 595  /
(Jerusalem) Angela Godfrey-Goldstein, tel.  +972 547 366 393  /

GAZA CITY, GAZA (24 August 2008)

Two days after the SS FREE GAZA and the SS LIBERTY arrived to a jubilant welcome in Gaza, 20 to 25 of the human rights watchers will go to sea with the fishermen in a show of support for their struggle to keep their industry productive.

According to a recent article in The Guardian, “in the 1990s, the Gazan fishing industry produced an annual income of around £5m. That had halved by 2007 and is still shrinking fast. Under the Oslo accords, which in 1993 were supposed to herald the coming of an independent Palestinian state, Gazan fishermen were to be allowed 20 nautical miles out to sea, where they could  catch sardine as they migrated from the Nile delta up towards Turkey during the spring.But Israeli naval ships in recent years have imposed their own, much-reduced limits, sometimes fewer than 6 miles out.”

The group will leave in the very early morning and go to sea at least 7 to 8 miles off the Gaza coast. They will be on board two to three of the small fishing boats lining the shores of the Gaza port, making sure they and their international flags are prominent. They intend to stay at sea for several hours, providing protection for the men as they search for and catch the fish.

“What gives Israel the right to take away the livelihood of these fishermen, and why does the world allow them to destroy an industry that used to provide for thousands of Palestinians?” Said Greta Berlin, one of the five organizers of The Free Gaza Movement. “We intend to challenge that right, backed up by warships and machine guns, just as we challenged Israel’s right to prevent us from coming here on Saturday.”

The organizers feel that, since they sailed to Gaza with no interference from the Israeli military, they have established a precedent to press for the human rights of Palestinians, who want nothing more than to be free to make a living, go to school, and receive medical treatment.

Greta Berlin
Media Team
Free Gaza Movement
357 99 08 17 67


10 Responses to Free Gaza boats are going fishing

  1. Raffe says:

    I’m very against this blockade as I don’t believe in collective punishment however this group, with all its good intentions, did almost nothing to help the Palestinians in Gaza.

    If they had really wanted to help the people in Gaza they should have packed their boats with more food and less publicity-seeking activists.

  2. CF says:

    Nice to see that this blog is now acting as a publicity point for the “Free Gaza” buffoons. is that part of your “scholarly” duites, I wonder? Is this meant to bolster your academic credentials ?
    I hope you people will be declaring any commissions and so forth you receive.

  3. Rosalyn says:

    CF why don;t you just go marry someone like Snoop Doggy …… he’s the ugliest human on earth and you deserve him.

  4. Raffe says:


    Your constant recommendations of marriage show that you’re unable to maintain a basic academic argument and detracts any legitimacy you may hold. This is an academic forum; please act with decorum.

  5. Raffe,

    The Free Gaza Movement sends a powerful message to the world. There are people who care enough about their fellow human beings that they will not let them suffer in silence. They will step outside of their own comfort zone and risk their personal and financial well-being so that others may one day enjoy the same freedoms and pleasures in life that we have.

    This is the story of Martin Luther King Jr, Mahatma Gandhi, Aung San Su Kyi. This is the story of the hundreds of thousands of nameless persons who have risked their life or personal livelihood in the name of fairness and justice for another fellow human being.

    Jeff Halper and the others who are part of the Free Gaza Movement boat expedition from Cyprus to Gaza. They have my honour and respect. Interestingly enough our own Chief Justice of NSW Jim Spiegelman along with Charlie Perkins helped organize a bus trip of University of Sydney Students to northern NSW to survey the living conditions of Aboriginal Australians. This was in 1965.

    Raffe I have put together a number of links to reflect on the contribution of people like Jeff Halper and the like who have been a part of symbolic actions to stand against social, political, economic and environmental injustices

    Gandhi Salt March – 1930

    US Civil rights movement – ending black segregation

    US Freedom rides

    Amercian black civil rights activists,_Jr.

    Rosa Parks 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott

    Lunch counter sit-ins 1940-1960s

    Protesting athletes
    The 1968 Black Power Salute – including Australian Peter Norman

    Antiwar protests

    China civil rights
    The tank man, 5 June 1989 Tiananmen Square

    Nonviolence in the Middle East

    Dr Mubarak Awad
    International Peace and Conflict Resolution Division of the School of International Service, American University

    Nonviolent Direct Action – taught by M Awad

    Arun Gandhi
    Jonathan Kuttab

    Australian civil rights

    Australian Freedom Ride – 1965

    The Aboriginal tent embassy, Canberra (1972- )

    Cathy Freeman carrying the Aboriginal flag 1994 Commonwealth Games

    Case studies of nonviolent action

    For further reading see the work of Gene Sharp.

    Nonviolent Action: A Research Guide
    By Ronald M. McCarthy, Gene Sharp, Brad Bennett

    “The Politics of Nonviolent Action and the spread of ideas about civil resistance,” Gene Sharp, lecture at the Conference on ‘Civil Resistance and Power Politics,’ St. Antony’s College, Oxford University, Oxford, England, March 14-18, 2007.

    The Politics of Nonviolent Action (1973)

    Gene Sharp. 198 Methods of Nonviolent Action. A Force More Powerful

    Gene Sharp – background

    Henry D Thoreau – Refusal to pay war taxes

    The Environment movement

    Consider also the impact of the environmental movement on social change eg the work of Green peace and the like.

    I will stop here for now. My basic point was all respect to Jeff Halper and to the Free Gaza Movement for trying to raise the political awareness of the plight of the people of Gaza, West Bank and for the people of Israel both Jewish and Palestinian.

  6. L.L. Wynn says:

    An update on the Free Gaza campaigners who, according to this Iranian website, are now trapped in Gaza by both Egyptian and Israeli authorities:

  7. Raffe says:

    Stewart Mills,

    I do not believe that the Gazans suffer in silence and it was not the ‘Free Gaza Movement’ that opened the eyes of the world to an oppressed people. One cannot turn on a television or open a news paper without Gaza being mentioned somewhere. Whilst at the same time there are many more oppressed in the world who are being given little, if no, coverage because of restrictions on reporters and of the press.

    I strongly believe that there are a multitude of reasons that the Gazans are suffering and whilst Israel must shoulder most of the blame it should not be considered the sole executor of Gaza’s misery.

    Yes, Israel should remove the blockade on Gaza as soon as possible, but for it to do so it must be sure that materials earmarked for aid are not being used by the corrupt Hamas government or any number of terror groups to make rockets and other weaponry to be fired into the legally recognized borders of Israel.

    Thank you for the links in your post, whilst i was aware of many of these individuals or peace groups there are some that I did not know of and will make for some interesting reading.

    It is never my intention to try to scale down the occupation or the actions of Israel but rather to ask people to put it in a global perspective and to recognise that many other countries are worse things and are not even being condemned for them.

  8. Raffe,

    Yes, there are many minorities in the world who live under persecution because of their race, religion, political views or national identity. As Australians we have a responsibility to help and assist where we can whether it is to assist people as refugees, to send aid or to advocate on their behalf on the international stage.

    The people of Gaza, the West Bank and the Golan Heights are one such community. I applaud your acknowledgment of the suffering of the people of Palestine and of the importance of security for the people of Israel.

    I agree there is much that the Arab world can do to redress the unfairness imbedded within their own political systems. I am concerned by the rise of fundamentalism in Egypt, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Sudan, Somalia, the Philippines, Indonesia to name a few. I acknowledge the impact of Islamism on communities within Western countries. I acknowledge the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories can be used as a way certain government can channel blame to the West (and the US) whilst ignoring the undemocratic practices of their own countries.

    However, that still does not take away the suffering of the people of Gaza, the West Bank and the Golan Heights.

    If I had more time I would devote it to help alleviate the suffering of other people’s of the world. I pray that I can devote more time to other people’s struggles and to the planet’s own struggle against climate change.

    But this is hampered by every time I read a news article, an op-ed piece, a letter to the editor that continues to blame and stereotype Palestinians for the situation in Israel today.

    I look to the day when my Jewish brother and sisters can see from the Arab Palestinian eyes what 1917, 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973 and 2000 meant to them. I am hopeful every time I read of a member of the Jewish or Palestinian community who acknowledges the mutual suffering of each people. Raffe I acknowledge your admirable work in this process.

    However, Raffe, I look to the day when my friends can see the impact of creating a Jewish state in a region which until only 60 years ago had not had a Jewish majority for over two millennia. This is not to say that today the Jewish community of Israel should be eroded of their rights to the land they live in today. However, this means there is a great responsibility of the community that lives their toay to acknowledge the past and to seek ways to reconcile with the Arab Palestinian community of today.

    Yes acknowledge the European Holocaust and ensure that present and future generations will think “never again’. But it is important that people see with Arab Palestinian eyes why there was resentment to the influx of European Jews to region during the British mandate and the resentment to the international community failing to protect the democratic rights of the Arab Palestinians to democratically decide their future rather than leving it to be decided on the battlefield (i.e the more violently successful group).

    Further it is needed to be acknowledged that the UN Security Council in March 1948 rejected the General Assembly Partition Plan and a special General Assembly was recalled to consider placing the region under UN trusteeship to avoid partition and international conflict. However, the Jewish Agency rejected the Security Council’s decision and created the state on the basis of the now invalid 1947 resolution.

    Our own Sir Isaac Isaacs and Rabbi Danglow whilst acknowledging the tragedy of the European Holocaust rejected creating a Jewish state given it was against the will of the majority of the local inhabitants (rember in 1917 nearly 90% of the population was not Jewish). Danglow only cautiously supported the Jewish state following independence.

    Raffe, in conclusion yes I support your concern for us as a community to hold a global perspective of conflicts as we discuss Palestine and Israel. However, unfortunately family and work commitments may limit many of us to a small number of long-term political justice issues. The hope is that where I (we) fail to raise within our political consciousness of another minority suffering in the world there are others in the community who do.

  9. cf says:

    *L* Rosalyn, you’re quite the vindictive little matchmaker! Monotonous, but funny!
    i eagerly await some actual riposte by you to the content of my post. Failing that, you do at least manage to be amusing in your own sordid way.

  10. The tendency shows that government starts to solve problem when they face it. The problem already exists! But Cyprus government is still sleeping. Fish quantity in dams is reduced. Animals, Birds quantity in fields is reduced! What they are waiting for!!!

    They even doesn’t know that some bustards put nets in dams! I hate them!!! Fishing department does not do anything to solve that problem! They think that every fisherman has fishing license! But it is not truth.. I believe that only 20% has fishing license!!!

    Hope that problems will be solved soon!

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