Preparations are ongoing to launch the āGaza Arkā ship, this time not to sail to Gaza to break the siege, but to sail from Gaza carrying peace activists and Palestinian made goods to sell in international markets.Dr. Mona Al-Farra, vice head of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society and member of the Preparatory Committee of the Gaza Ark Project, stated that the activists, who are conducting the needed preparations and final touches, are from Canada and France, and that they are cooperating with the Palestinians in Gaza.
Activists will be arriving in Gaza via the Rafah Border Terminal, on the border with Egypt, and will be leaving the Gaza Strip on-board the ship.
Al-Farra told the Maan News Agency that the ship will be sailing from Gaza carrying 13 international solidarity activists, and will likely also carry several Palestinian merchants.
It will be sailing from Gaza during the first months of the coming year; the ships aim at challenging the illegal Israeli siege imposing on the Gaza Strip, this time by sailing from Gaza.
Al-Farra added that the ship will be sailing to different Mediterranean Ports in cooperation and coordination with their countries. Several agricultural products will also be on board the ship to be sold in international markets.
Mahfouth Al-Kabareety, head of the Palestinian Committee for Fishing and Maritime Sports in Gaza, stated that the Gaza Ark does not only aim at exporting Gaza goods and transporting individuals, but will also be accompanying Gaza fishermen to protect them from constant Israeli attacks.
Al-Kabareety added that the activists are well aware of all scenarios and dangers resulting from Israeli Navy attacks, and that they are determined to continue their solidarity activities with the Palestinian people.
Last month, the Israeli Navy intercepted, in international waters, the Estelle solidarity ship that was heading to Gaza, carrying peace activists and humanitarian supplies, and towed the ship to Ashdod Port.
In May of 2010, The Israeli Navy attacked the MV Marmara Turkish solidarity ship, part of the Freedom Flotilla that was heading to Gaza, and killed nine Turkish solidarity activists.
It is worth mentioning that in 2008, Israel imposed restrictions on Palestinian fishermen limiting their right to fish by reducing the area of fishing from 20 nautical miles, which was established upon in the agreements signed between the Palestinians and Israel, to 6 nautical miles in 2008.
In 2009, Israel reduced the fishing area allotted to Palestinian fishermen to only three nautical miles; as a result, fishermen became prevented from reaching areas beyond that distance where fish is abundant, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) reported.
In many cases the fishermen were even attacked within the three nautical miles an issue that further impacted the Palestinian fishermen who subsequently lost 85% of their source of income, because they are denied access to Palestinian waters.