A second humanitarian flotilla set out from the Gaza Strip on Tuesday in hopes of breaking an 11-year Israeli blockade on the coastal enclave, a Palestinian NGO said.
“Gaza has proved to the whole world that it does not accept submission despite the continuous blockade,” Hani al-Thawabtah, a member of Gaza’s National Committee for Breaking the Siege, told a press conference in Gaza City.
Eleven Palestinians are participating in the “Freedom Boat 2” flotilla, including those who had been injured in peaceful protests by Israeli army fire, medical patients and university students.
“Latest Israeli procedures of tightening up the blockade on Gaza will not force Palestinians to give up on Palestine,” al-Thawabtah said.
The “Freedom Boat 2” is the second humanitarian flotilla to set out from blockaded Gaza since Palestinians first began holding regular rallies along the Gaza-Israel security fence on Mar. 30.
The NGO urged local and international officials to provide the flotilla and its Palestinian passengers with protection “from any possible Israeli violations”.
The first flotilla set out from Gaza on May 29 carrying Palestinian medical patients -- many of whom were injured during the rallies -- and university students.
A main boat was accompanied by dozens of smaller vessels in a show of defiance against Israel’s crippling blockade.
Israeli naval forces swiftly intercepted and seized the ship, detaining all 17 Palestinian passengers aboard.
While all detained passengers were subsequently released, the ship’s captain, Suheil Muhammad al-Amoudi, remains in Israeli custody until now.
The Gaza Strip has groaned under a crippling Israeli blockade since 2007, which has gutted the coastal enclave’s economy and deprived its roughly 2 million inhabitants of many basic commodities.
Since Mar. 30, more than 130 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli army gunfire -- and thousands more injured -- while taking part in regular demonstrations along the Gaza-Israel security fence.
Demonstrators demand an end to Israel’s decades-long occupation of Palestinian land and its ongoing blockade of Gaza, which has brought the strip to the verge of humanitarian catastrophe.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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