‘Juliano’ attacked on its way to break the siege on Gaza
Statement by The Freedom Theatre
June 27th, 2015
Passengers of the Freedom Flotilla III bound for Gaza have announced that one of the boats, named Juliano after the co-founder and director of The Freedom Theatre, Juliano Mer Khamis who was assassinated in 2011, has been sabotaged. Divers damaged the boat’s propellers, causing it to take in water and the boat barely made it into port in Greece before it sank. On Saturday June 27th, passengers reported that the flotilla was followed by an unidentified patrol boat and a military aircraft.
Israel has engaged in a massive campaign to prevent the flotilla from reaching Gaza, threatening the participants in a similar fashion as during earlier attempts to break the illegal siege on Gaza. In 2010, Israeli troops attacked a similar flotilla in international waters, killing ten of the activists onboard and detaining many others.
Juliano Mer Khamis oftentimes declared that he was 100% Jewish and 100% Palestinian. He spoke of the necessity of a bi-national state where true democracy and justice may rule. Juliano’s work and vision inspired many people worldwide to act for justice in Palestine. The Freedom Flotilla does the same.
The sabotage of a boat named after a freedom fighter that believed in art as the most righteous form of resistance, proves to what length Israel is willing to go to silence criticism and activism against the occupation and apartheid system.
The boat Juliano is part of an international Freedom Flotilla Coalition calling for an end to the inhuman siege on Gaza, which violates the most basic human rights of the Palestinian people. The Flotilla comes less than a year after Israel’s brutal war against the Gaza strip in which more than 2,200 Palestinians were killed.
The Freedom Theatre welcomes the Freedom Flotilla initiative just like we welcome any other form of legitimate resistance against the Israeli oppression. No single person, organisation or movement can overcome the Israeli occupation and apartheid, but by considering us all part of a joint movement, supporting and complementing each other, we can and will succeed in bringing justice and peace to Palestine.
In just a few days the Freedom Flotilla will reach international waters outside the coast of Gaza, carrying more than 50 people from over 20 countries. The boats are also carrying urgently needed supplies and most importantly a message of solidarity to the besieged population of Gaza.
The Freedom Theatre wishes the flottilla a safe and successful journey to Gaza! Long live the Freedom Flottilla, long live Gaza and Palestine!
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Freedom Flotilla III is Sailing to Open the Port of Gaza
Boats, with more than 50 crew and passengers from 20 countries are prepared to reach the port of Gaza and call on the international community to open it
This year’s mission, organized by the Freedom Flotilla Coalition against the naval blockade and the siege of Gaza, is about to sail to highlight the violation of the rights of 1.8 million Palestinians living in the world’s largest open-air prison.
The Israeli government claims that there are ‘unauthorized boats trying to illegally enter Israeli territorial waters’. There are no ‘unauthorized boats’, only an illegal and inhumane blockade; the UN has recently called to end it and Freedom Flotilla III sails to challenge it, without any need or desire to enter Israeli territorial waters. This fact is highlighted by the practices of Israeli naval forces against previous sea missions, which have intercepted all boats since 2009 in international waters, headed towards Palestinian waters off Gaza, never towards Israel or Israeli waters.
Freedom Flotilla III is invited by Palestinians in Gaza through various organizations that work for a relief of the thousands that were left heavily wounded, homeless, jobless, and displaced after recent Israeli operations in the Gaza Strip. We also have among our passengers Dr. Basel Ghattas, Member of the Israeli Knesset, who called in an open letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu to allow our mission to reach the port of Gaza.
Israel’s right-wing is now moving to penalize MK Ghattas for his participation in a legitimate political action of people from all around the world, while Deputy MFA Hotovely has announced international diplomatic action against the Freedom Flotilla III. Lawyers around the world are making legal moves against the mission, just as they did in 2011. We regret that “the only democracy in Middle-East” thinks this is the best course of action, instead of addressing the real problems of occupation, blockade and division of Palestine, as well as the openly legal discriminations against Palestinians and Israeli Arabs.
We remain undeterred, because our purpose is not to act against Israel, but against occupation. Our actions would not be needed, if governments worldwide and international bodies like the EU and the UN would take steps to ensure accountability of Israeli governments for war crimes and collective punishment against the 1.8 million Palestinian population in Gaza Strip. We welcome voices from Israel who publicly state that the State of Israel is not threatened by the action against the blockade.
The international community should stop turning a blind eye on the blockade and occupation and take steps urgently towards the direction of ensuring the opening of the port in Gaza, the only port of Palestine to the rest of the world.