A Jordanian union leader told Agence France Presse that a boat has been purchased for $800,000 in Greece to carry construction materials, medical supplies, and 200 additional passengers to join the Gaza Freedom Flotilla of ten ships and several hundred passengers from 20 countries. The Flotilla, which was scheduled to depart last week, is currently being delayed by Greek authorities.The 200 additional passengers will make up for some of the 500 Turkish aid workers who had planned to take part in the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza on the Mavi Marmara ship, but were prevented from doing so when the Turkish aid organization sponsoring the ship pulled out of the trip due to unnamed ‘technical reasons’.
In addition to the loss of the Turkish ship, two of the boats planning to take part in the Flotilla were damaged by unknown professional divers who cut through the boats’ propeller shafts. The crew of the two boats in question claim that the similarities in damage on the two boats indicate acts of deliberate sabotage.
Over 300 activists are still planning to travel to Gaza on the Freedom Flotilla, and the new boat will increase their numbers to over 500.
The boat is sponsored by a new organization called ‘Noor’, which means ‘Light’ in Arabic, made up of participants from around the Arab world who collectively donated over a million dollars to ensure the Flotilla’s success.
The Freedom Flotilla, currently delayed in Greek harbors, aims to break the Israeli naval blockade of the Gaza Strip and bring attention to the plight of the civilian population there. The 1.5 million people who live in the Gaza Strip, half of whom are children, face daily electricity blackouts, heavily salinated and polluted water, and frequent sewage overflows due to the Israeli blockade preventing imports of much-needed fuel and supplies.
Wael Saqqa, a representative for ‘Noor’, said that 35 Jordanian activists would be part of the newest addition to the Flotilla, along with representatives from other Arab countries.