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Despite Distractions, Israel Is Still Killing Palestinians Daily

International participants arrive to sail with Freedom Flotilla to Break the Siege.

Friday April 19, Istanbul, Turkiye – Hours ago, the media reported that Israel has attacked Iran. The Freedom Flotilla Coalition stands here to remind the world that with all the escalation between Israel and Iran, the killing is occurring in Gaza. While those two countries go back and forth, we cannot let Israel distract the world from what is causing far more death, disease, and destruction: Israel’s policies of starving and continued bombardment of unarmed Palestinians in Gaza, mostly women and children.

On Friday, hundreds of civilians from dozens of countries are meeting in Istanbul to prepare to sail very soon for Gaza, carrying thousands of tons of life-saving food and medicine. The Freedom Flotilla aims to break Israel’s unlawful siege of Gaza and demand an immediate ceasefire to save the lives of thousands of Palestinians.

There will be participants from over 30 countries on board, including 40 Americans. Elliot Adams, ex-president of Veterans for Peace and former US paratrooper, calls out the complicity of his own government in supporting Israel’s genocidal aggression: “Israel is trying to ethnically cleanse Palestinians from Gaza, with US support, through starvation as well as direct violence. This is a humanitarian crisis and we have got to try to stop it by breaking the siege.”

“Israeli bombs and bullets are killing Palestinians in Gaza every day and their illegal siege is deliberately starving everybody else,” says former mayor of Barcelona Ada Colau, who is joining this nonviolent Flotilla “because our governments are not listening to the people’s demand to stop Israel’s barbaric crimes against humanity.”

Argentinian surgeon Carlos Trotta, who has worked with Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) all over the world, including in Gaza, adds that the health situation for Palestinians in the besieged Strip is at a crisis point: “It’s an emergency. Children are dying of malnutrition, patients have their limbs amputated without anesthesia, and thousands are at risk of dying from the spread of infectious disease, all because of Israel’s arbitrary restrictions on aid arriving in Gaza. It is critically important for this Flotilla to act right now to help prevent even more loss of life.”

Participants will undergo non-violence training for the next three days, during which they will review potential scenarios and learn various strategies and tactics to protect themselves and each other in the event of any attacks. The Flotilla will depart next week carrying over 5,000 tons of humanitarian aid on a cargo ship, accompanied by two passenger ships.

Huwaida Arraf, a human rights attorney and Freedom Flotilla organizer says: “Israel’s current siege on Gaza, as well as its 17-year-long blockade are forms of collective punishment, which is a war crime. As the siege and blockade are illegal, Israel has no right to attack or stop our ships. We call on our governments, which have thus far done nothing to protect the Palestinian people or compel Israel to abide by international law, to start living up to their obligations and demand our flotilla have safe passage to Gaza. We ask people around the world to join us in this call.”

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