Hundreds of Gaza women held a rally on Monday evening at the Fishermen Port in Gaza City and lit candles in a display of solidarity with the Lebanese Aid Ship, Miriam, and Naji al-Ali Ship, both of which are transporting humanitarian aid. The activists onboard Miriam are all women.The ship was named Miriam (Mariam) which is the Arabic name of Virgin Mary, while the second ship carries the name of the Palestinian cartoonist and artist Naji al-Ali, who was assassinated in London in August 1987.

Al-Ali is, perhaps, most famous for his character, Handala; a depiction of a 10 year old Palestinian boy, who can not grow up until he returns from exile to his homeland. Handala has become a symbol of the Palestinian children growing up in refugee camps.

The protestors in Gaza carried Palestinian and Lebanese flags and chanted against the ongoing Israeli siege as well as the Israeli threats to attack the Miriam solidarity flotilla.

They said that they are protesting the illegal Israeli siege and supporting the aid ships heading to Gaza to challenge this illegal blockade and delivering humanitarian supplies.

A Hamas official in Gaza said that the Israeli decision to “ease the siege” by extending the list of goods and items allowed into the besieged Gaza Strip, is meaningless as the crisis in Gaza requires a full end to this siege. He added that essential items such as construction materials and medical supplies are still banned.

It is worth mentioning that one of the two aid boats was granted the green light from Lebanon to sail for Cyprus before sailing to the Gaza Strip.

The ships still need authorization from Cyprus to sail to Gaza, but some of the organizers of the flotilla said they might just change their course before reaching Cyprus, and sail directly to Gaza.