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Gaza Activists Build Ship to Break Blockade from the 'Inside Out’

- Common Dreams staff

Activists in Gaza are currently building a cargo ship with plans to break the Israeli shipping blockade "from the inside out," Agence France-Presse reports Thursday.

An Israeli navy vessel enters the southern port of Ashdod in 2011. (Photo: Jack Guez/ AFP) The plan, the activists say, is to export Palestinian goods including olives, oil and local hand crafts for the first time since Israel established its blockade. Israel claims the blockade is necessary to prevent weapons from entering the occupied territory, but it has subsequently ended all sea trade for those in Gaza.

Canadian activist Irene MacInnes, told Agence France-Presse, that when the last flotilla attempting to break the blockade on its way to Gaza was intercepted by Israeli forces, pro-Palestinian activists in Canada, the United States and Australia came up with the new idea of building a ship in Gaza.

Using the method of export, rather than import, to break the blockade defuses Israel's argument for defense; however, the group believes Israel will likely still attempt to detain the boat.

The ship, Gaza's Ark, will leave Gaza with a crew of Palestinians and internationals, said fellow organizer Jase Tanner. A committee of international activists are currently working to refurbish the Gaza boat, using paid Palestinian labor. Palestinian goods producers will be compensated in advance for their products before the ship attempts to set sail.

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