This statement was released today by the Canadian Arab Federation.
Any time now, 32 unarmed Canadians from coast to coast will be sailing on a Canadian ship, the Tahrir, as part of an international humanitarian flotilla to Gaza. Joining the Canadian delegates will be four delegates from Australia, four from Belgium, five from Denmark, and one from Germany.
The delegates on board the Tahrir include politicians; journalists; Jewish, Muslim and Christian Canadians; artists; peace and human rights activists; Indigenous leaders; and small business owners.
This action will non-violently challenge Israel’s blockade of Gaza, which has virtually imprisoned 1.6 million Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip, nearly half of whom are under the age of 16.
Israel’s blockade has deprived the people of Gaza of access to basic resources and supplies, including food, medicine, building materials, medical equipment and more. It has prevented Palestinian students from attending school abroad, Palestinian workers from reaching their jobs, Palestinian business-people from exporting their goods and Palestinian families from visiting their loved ones.
In addition to the 46 passengers, the Tahrir will carry medicine and medical supplies to the besieged Palestinians living in Gaza. According to the ship’s own passengers, there will be no weapons on board. The passengers have also clearly stated that they do not serve the agenda of any political leadership, government or group, but are engaged solely in non-violent action in support of the Palestinian people and their human rights.
In this context, the Canadian Arab Federation calls upon the Canadian government to take swift and decisive action to uphold the rights of Canadian citizens to safe passage to Gaza, as well as urge the Israeli government to lift the appalling and illegal blockade of Gaza itself.