The ship Estelle will attempt to sail from Naples to Gaza in early-October as part of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition’s campaign to challenge the blockade of Gaza. The Canadian Boat to Gaza campaign is coordinating the participation of former Cowichan-Malahat-The Islands Member of Parliament Jim Manly on this voyage.
David Heap, who was on the Estelle for several days as it made its way from Barcelona to Ajaccio (Corsica), has written in a rabble.ca blog, “The Estelle carries a varied cargo: from school supplies donated by school-kids to cement to aid the reconstruction of Gaza. But as always the most precious cargo on these trips is human solidarity: the Palestinians of Gaza need that much more than they need material aid. Indeed, the crippling dependence on humanitarian aid is entirely a product of the blockade. If their right to trade and travel freely were upheld by ending the blockade, the Palestinians of Gaza would be able to rebuild their formerly thriving economy and eliminate the need for aid.”
At its annual general meeting on October 25, 2011, the Council of Canadians passed a resolution resolving that the Council of Canadians: support the Canadian Boat to Gaza to end the illegal blockade of Gaza; call on the Government of Canada, the United Nations and the international community to do everything in their power to ensure the safe passage of the Canadian Boat to Gaza and the safety of all those aboard; call for an end to the blockade of Gaza, in accordance with international law. In February 2012, the Council of Canadians supported a cross-country speaking tour calling for an end to the blockade of Gaza. It should be highlighted also that Jim Manley is the father of Council of Canadians Mid-Island chapter activist Paul Manly, and David Heap is with the Council of Canadians London chapter.
In September 2011, five United Nations special rapporteurs, including Catarina de Albuquerque, the Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, stated, “Under human rights law and international humanitarian law the people of Gaza, even while living under occupation, have the right to…accessible and affordable water, as well as proper sanitation services and facilities. …The Israeli blockade of Gaza must end immediately and the people of Gaza must be afforded protection in line with international law.”
For more, please see http://canadians.org/blog/?p=11458, http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/canadianboattogaza/2012/09/jim-manly-former-member-parliament-sails-against-gaza-bloc and http://rabble.ca/news/2012/09/challenging-blockade-gaza-message-canadian-board-estelle.