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Canadian activists file for return of boat seized by Israel

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The Tahrir sailed from Turkey last November and was seized by Israel in international waters. (Photo: https://occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com/)

Last month the Toronto law firm of Jackman Nazami and associates filed a letter with Israeli authorities on behalf of the Canadian Boat to Gaza steering committee, requesting the return of our vessel Tahrir and its cargo, illegally seized on November 4, 2011 in international waters (you can see the letter here).

An assistant to the Israeli minister of defense acknowledged receipt of our letter on June 12, but the government of Israel has not yet replied to the substance of our claim. Our Australian, Belgian and Danish partners who helped purchase the Tahrir are considering appropriate action in their respective countries.

Last January, the Canadian government made it clear that the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade would not be helping us recover the Tahrir and its cargo, stating that they consider it a "private matter."

Many Canadians and others disagree: more than 600 individuals and groups have signed our Declaration and Call demanding action from the Canadian government to help secure the return of our ship with its contents, and to press Israel to end the illegal and inhuman blockade of Gaza. We invite you to do the same, and to seek the support of organizations for this Declaration and Call.

Meanwhile, some promising news: although it took two years, two Greek ships from the 2010 Freedom Flotilla, the Sfendoni and the Eleftheri Mesogeios, were released earlier this month by Israel. Heavily damaged during their two years of illegal seizure, they had to be towed to ports in Turkey and Greece.

The Canadian Boat to Gaza congratulates our partner campaign Ship to Gaza Greece on their perseverance and success. And in France, our partner campaign Un Bateau français pour Gaza has recently filed a suit against Israel for piracy, kidnapping and theft. A number of other vessels remain illegally impounded in Israel and Greece for challenging the blockade of Gaza.

While we continue to press for the return of the Tahrir, it is also important to press ahead in our continuing solidarity with the Palestinians of Gaza. We invite you to follow our new campaign on Facebook, Twitter @GazaArk and our website www.GazaArk.org.

With your help we are building hope in Gaza to sail from Palestine against the blockade.

Together we can help end the blockade of Gaza!


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