Gaza’s Ark—a freedom flotilla aimed at breaking the Israeli blocked from within this besieged strip—was rocked by an explosion early Tuesday, partially sinking the vessel weeks before it was to set sail from the Gaza Port.
According to a statement from Gaza’s Ark, no one was injured in the blast, but the night guard “was taken to the hospital for tests.”
Ehab Lotayef, member of Gaza’s Ark steering committee, told Common Dreams, “We don’t have solid proof of who carried out the attack, but it is very clear there is one specific entity interested in the boat not sailing and in continuing the blockade of Gaza.”
This is the first physical attack against Gaza’s Ark, which has been under construction for nearly a year. Jointly organized by Palestinians in Gaza—including the Palestine Sailing Federation and the Fishermen’s Solidarity Campaign—and international solidarity organizations, the vessel was constructed by Palestinians and slated to embark in June on a voyage through international waters carrying Palestinian goods and people from Gaza and around the world.
“The goal is to challenge the ongoing, illegal Israeli blockade and focus worldwide attention on the situation in Gaza and the complicity of the governments that support it or look the other way,” according to the organization’s website.
The Ark is affiliated with the Freedom Flotilla coalition, whose vessels have attempted to deliver humanitarian aid and other materials to Gaza. According to Lotayef, by starting from within Palestine, and employing only Palestinian labor, Gaza’s Ark organizers hope to “empower people in Gaza and help elevate the lack of jobs.”
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