For Immediate Release
UN Promises Delivery of Freedom Flotilla Cargo to Gaza
LONDON - Six weeks after the Freedom Flotilla ships were forcibly boarded in
international waters, their passengers illegally jailed and the cargo
impounded by the Israeli authorities, the office of the United Nations
Special Co-ordinator for the Middle East (UNSCO) has promised to deliver
the full humanitarian aid cargo to UN. agencies in Gaza.
"The cargo finally being processed for delivery this week consists of
supplies prevented by Israel from entering Gaza for the last three
years. On the MV Rachel Corrie, the cargo ship of the Free Gaza
Movement, we were carrying 20 tons of paper, plus pens & books for
schools & universities, over 50 tons of medical supplies & 550
tons of cement for Al Shifa Hospital. Instead of docking in Gaza &
distributing the supplies to the intended recipients, Israel impounded
cargo, searched, then handed over to an overburdened UN, who can give no
guarantees that it will get to the intended schools or NGO's." said
Niamh Moloughney, coordinator of the Free Gaza Movement - Ireland.
The Rebuilding Alliance, one of the U.S. organizations to place
humanitarian cargo on the Rachel Corrie is none-the-less hopeful that
the backpacks, sports equipment, and building materials donated by
hundreds of Americans will be delivered to the designated Gaza
non-governmental organizations (NGO's) .
"When we first learned of the Freedom Flotilla, we asked our partner
NGO's in Gaza what we could send that would matter most to them, given
the 3 year-long blockade," said Donna Baranski-Walker, Executive
Director of the Rebuidling Alliance, a San Mateo CA-based nonprofit.
"They asked Americans to send messages to children, along with
backpacks, sports equipment, and cement to build a kindergarten."
Added Ms. Moloughney, "Israel has insisted that cargo be brought into
Ashdod for delivery, but this ignores the overall illegitimacy of
Israel's closure policy. It also means that once more Israel profits
from its illegal acts. The 'easing' of the blockade means nothing to
families whose homes and businesses are still in ruins and allows them
only to be consumers of Israeli goods."
The Free Gaza Movement repeats that only a complete end to Israel's
punitive closure policy will suffice in starting to repair the economy
of this decimated slice of the Mediterranean, the only territory in the
world that does not have access to its own sea.
"We ask people throughout the world to press their governments to
open Gaza, not just for aid but for movement and trade as well, to truly
end the collective punishment of Gaza's civilian population," said
Huwaida Arraf, chair of the Free Gaza Movement. "That's why we will
continue to send ships to Gaza loaded with civilian supplies Israel
refuses to allow into Gaza - and on return, fill our ships with goods
from Gaza for export. We look forward to international cooperation in
developing a sea route certification system to assure aid, fair trade
and the safety of all."
Israel continues to hold all of the vessels that it illegally
commandeered, including the seven ships of the Freedom Flotilla, as well
as the Spirit of Humanity, which Israel hijacked in June 2009.