Sailing thousands of miles to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza

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Three women from the Women’s Boat to Gaza (L-R): Mairead Maguire, Renè Abu Joub

It is Day Six on the Women's Boat to Gaza's thousand-mile journey from Messina, Sicily to break the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza. Sitting in the cockpit of our small sailboat are 13 women from 13 countries.

We have already covered another 700 miles in earlier parts of the journey to Gaza. We sailed with our first group of 13 women from Barcelona, Spain to Ajaccio, Corsica, France. The second group of 13 women sailed from Ajaccio, Corsica to Messina, Sicily, Italy. Among the participants were parliamentarians from Tunisia, Spain and Sweden and the European Parliament, notable members of the theatre and acting profession from Spain and the U.S., journalists from Spain and Israel, and activists from Canada and the U.S.

On the final 1,000 miles, we have Palestinian solidarity activists joining us from Australia, Algeria, Ireland, Malaysia, South Africa, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Chile, and the U.S., including a Nobel Peace laureate from Northern Ireland, and parliamentarians from New Zealand and Sweden and journalists from the U.K. and Russia.

We have undertaken this arduous journey in solidarity with the women of Gaza who hold their families together in the face of frequent air, land and sea attacks from the Israeli Occupation Forces and from continuous, 24-hour drone surveillance, never knowing whether members of their families will survive the day.

Overcoming many bouts of seasickness, we are sailing to remind the world of the brutal, illegal Israeli naval blockade that has trapped 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza and made Gaza a prison for them.

As a citizen of the U.S., I am sailing to remind the leaders of my country of their complicity with Israel in maintaining this prison, as well as the illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, the apartheid walls and the inhumane checkpoints for Palestinians.

Ann Wright served 29 years in the U.S. Army and Army Reserves and retired as a Colonel. She was a U.S. diplomat for 16 years and resigned in 2003 in opposition to the U.S. war on Iraq. She has travelled to Gaza six times. This is her fourth boat trip to break the blockade of Gaza.

Image credit: Renè Abu Joub

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