Holocaust survivor on aid boat bound for Gaza

A catamaran called Irene, carrying toys, medical supplies and aid, set sail yesterday from the port of Famagusta in the Turkish-held north of Cyprus,  bound for Gaza,  with peace campaigners on board from the United States, Germany, Britain and Israel, including Holocaust survivor Reuven Moshkovitz, 82, and Rami Elhanan, an Israeli who lost his daughter in a suicide attack in Jerusalem in 1997.

The ship is expected to arrive tomorrow in the waters of the Gaza Strip in a new symbolic challenge to the rigid blockade of the Palestinian Territory, imposed by Israel on over 1.5 million residents. The initiative comes amid renewed tension over the conclusion yesterday at midnight of the 10 month moratorium on Israeli settlement activity.

The Israeli navy at the end of last week killed a Palestinian fisherman in Gaza waters for apparently violating the harsh maritime blockade.

Richard Kuper, an organiser with the British group Jews for Justice for Palestinians active since 2002, said one goal of the voyage is to show that not all Jews support Israeli policies toward Palestinians. He added that no person on board will offer any resistance to Israeli forces if they board the ship. In June nine Turkish activists on an aid ship approaching Gaza were killed in by the Israeli navy, who said they had behaved aggressively towards them.

“It is a sacred duty for me, as a Holocaust survivor, to protest against the persecution, the oppression and the imprisonment of so many people in Gaza, including more than 800,000 children”, Moshkovitz said. “Those 1.5 million people in Gaza are victims exactly as I am”, Elhanan, 60, said. The crew is headed by Yonatan Shapira, an Israeli former military helicopter pilot, and includes Carole Angier, biographer of Primo Levi.

Source: MISNA

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