In the early hours of Tuesday, April 29th, the security guard on Gaza’s Ark received a phone call. He was told that an explosion was about to go off, and to leave the boat immediately. The man ran for his life, and sure enough, five minutes later, a massive explosion ripped two holes in the hull, causing the boat to slowly sink and come to rest on the shallow bottom. Some one was doing their damnedest to prevent Gaza’s Ark from breaking Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza.

The Ark had been almost ready to sail. A test run had been planned for the following week. The boat builders in Gaza had been working hard for over a year converting an old fishing boat into a cargo vessel, and done a magnificent job. Now their almost-finished work was wrecked.

Not once, however, have we heard the boat builders complain. Palestinians have the most extraordinary ability to endure. Their steadfastness in the face of adversity and their ability to start over every time their homes, their orchards, or their boats are destroyed is amazing.

The marine engineer sent us a list of all the repair work needing to be done, with an estimate of the cost of each item. We were shocked at the length of the list, and how much extra work is required. In addition, the price of materials is much higher now than it was before Egypt closed the border with Gaza and destroyed the tunnels. Fibreglass, for example, is four times the price.

Gaza’s Ark, however, will not be stopped. The sabotage has only strengthened our resolve to end the immoral blockade that causes so much hardship for the Palestinians who live in Gaza, massive unemployment, and the almost total breakdown of their economy.

We call on the international community to assist us in repairing the damage caused by the sabotage, so that Gaza’s Ark can once again prepare to sail from Gaza to international waters, to break the vile blockade and carry merchandise to trade with the outside world.

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Thank you for your support.

Jane Jewell
Gaza’s Ark steering committee,