Children and minors, who make up more than half of the Gaza population of over 2 million, are victims of the ongoing blockade, which has robbed them of their childhood; their rights to safety, education, and health; and their prospects for a decent future.
2018 marks the 70th anniversary of the Nakba (the Disaster or the Catastrophe) – the forced displacement of the native Palestinian population from what became Israel. The blockade of Gaza and the unlivable conditions suffered by women, children and men is not a natural catastrophe: it must be understood in its political context. The international community is responsible for the refugee situation (see unfulfilled UN Security Council Resolution 194 of 1948); for half a century of military occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem; and for the gross violations of individual and collective rights of the Palestinian people, perpetrated by the State of Israel.
In 2018 we sail again to challenge the blockade and to demand an end to our governments’ complicity with Israel’s war crimes and violation of human rights. The Freedom Flotilla Coalition ship this year is named Al Awda (The Return) to underline the importance of this long-standing demand of Palestinians for the right to return to the lands they have been expelled from.