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Scandinavian Ship Sets Sail to Break Israeli Blockade in Gaza

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Common Dreams staff

Ship to Gaza: the SV Estelle (Ship to Gaza/Facebook)

Swedish and Norwegian activists set sail from Oslo for the Gaza Strip on Tuesday in a move that the groups say will challenge the Israeli blockade and draw international attention to the Israeli occupation in Palestine.

The voyage, planned by activist group "Ship to Gaza", will be stopping in multiple ports along the way, and the activists said they hope other ships will join them.

The ship, the 174 foot SV Estelle, will be carrying supplies and aid for Palestinians in Gaza but the group also hopes to send boats in empty-handed in order to help export Palestinian goods out of Gaza.

"Because the siege on Gaza is as effective at blocking exports as it is at hindering imports, we believe this part of the situation should be known and dealt with," the group states on its webpage.

"We have the same goal as the previous flotillas, to put an end to the blockade of Gaza by challenging the Israeli navy," said Torstein Dahle, the leader of the Norwegian section of the activist group.

Several similar attempts to brake the Israeli blockade have failed in the recent past including the 2010 "Freedom Flotilla", which set sail from Turkey but was raided by Israeli forces, resulting in the death of nine activists.

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