The Canadian “Tahrir” (Liberation) Ship, and the Irish ship “Saoirse” left Turkish shores on Wednesday and started their journey towards the Gaza Strip as part of the “Freedom Waves to Gaza campaign”, meant to deliver humanitarian supplies to the besieged coastal region.Delegates from the Australian “Citizen-to Citizen” initiative, in addition to peace activists from the United States and Palestine, are onboard the ship.

One of Canadian Boat organizers, Ehab Lotayef, stated that that the ships are in international waters, and that the activists hope they will reach Gaza in a matter of days.

“We are now in international waters and hope to reach the shores of Gaza in a matter of days. Among the significant obstacles in our way are Israel’s military and the complicity of the Harper government,” Ehab stated, “but we have the wind of public opinion at our backs and in our sails, which strengthens our resolve and determination to challenge the illegal blockade of Gaza’s 1.5 million inhabitants.”

David Heap, another organizer of the Canadian boat, stated that the fact that the boats reached international waters is considered a victory for the movement.

“Despite economic blackmail, despite the outsourcing of the blockade to Greece, despite being forcibly boarded by the Greek Coast Guard, and despite Israel mobilizing a significant portion of its navy to stop us, we are now even closer to reaching Gaza, breaking the blockade, and occupying the occupation,” Heap added.

On his part, Lotayef stated that the Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip need solidarity not charity, and that they are seeking freedom.

“They are imprisoned in the Gaza Strip and Israel’s illegal blockade prevents imports and exports,” Lotayef added. “This blockade even prevents them from moving freely between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, this is a violation of fundamental human rights.”

On its website, the Canadian Boat, Tahrir, stated that the Freedom Waves to Gaza is a nonviolent initiative meant to challenge the illegal Israeli siege on the coastal region.

Heap stated that, “While Tahrir boat will be delivering medical supplies, urgently needed in Gaza, the main aim of the ship is to help free the Palestinians from the open-air prison, known as Gaza.”

“There’s a song from the civil rights movement with the chorus of ‘we who believe in freedom cannot rest,’” Heap added. “We will keep challenging the illegal blockade until Gaza and the rest of Palestine is free.”

For more information or to arrange an interview with a delegate on board the Tahrir:

English inquiries: Dylan Penner, Canadian Boat to Gaza, 613-859-6996

French inquiries: Denis Kosseim, Canadian Boat to Gaza, 514-923-5594

NOTE: Interviews with Tahrir delegates are possible in English, French, Spanish and Arabic., Twitter: @CanadaBoatGaza, #FreedomWaves, #Canada4Gaza