According to their website, Women's Boat to Gaza lost contact with the Zaytouna-Oliva minutes before 4 p.m. local time. It is now understood that Israeli Occupation Forces have surrounded the boat in international waters and forced it to a halt. On board are 13 women, including Mairead Maguire, the 1976 Nobel Peace Laureate from Northern Ireland, Fauziah Hasan, a doctor from Malaysia, and retired U.S. army colonel Ann Wright.
The Zaytounda-Oliva is one of two boats to leave Barcelona. The second boat, the Amal-Hope, had mechanical issues and had to be replaced. Because of the delay, Amal-Hope II, the boat replacing Amal-Hope, lost the small window of time needed to pick up a full crew. As a result, it was forced to remain in port in Messina, Sicily.
Years in the making, the Women's Boat to Gaza is a project of the Freedom Flotilla, which has organized a number of attempts to break the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza. The brainchild of London, Ontario social worker and activist Wendy Goldsmith and U.S. feminist activists Jane Hirschmann and Laurie Arbeiter, the Women's Boat to Gaza has been a labour of love and solidarity for dozens of women from around the world, and in Gaza itself.
Meg Borthwick has been working in alternative media, in broadcast, print and online, for nearly 30 years. She is a freelance writer and is the moderator for rabble's discussion forum, babble.
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