Aid Flotilla Heading to Gaza to Break Siege

CODEPINK’s Ann Wright and Medea Benjamin join a coalition of human rights activists due to set sail on multiple vessels in mid April.

Hundreds of human rights activists with the Freedom Flotilla Coalition, including CODEPINK’s Ann Wright and Medea Benjamin, are due to set sail on multiple vessels in mid-April to carry 5,500 tons of aid for Gaza.

Their mission, aside from delivering the much-needed humanitarian aid, is to challenge Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza amid dire conditions, including widespread hunger and lack of medical attention intentionally caused by Israeli policies. Time is running out for many in Gaza as Israel threatens an all-out attack on Rafah and experts warn hunger and disease could soon surpass casualties from bombings.

“I have been walking the halls of Congress every day since October, going to rallies every weekend, writing letters of outrage to President Biden every night — and nothing has worked to stop Israel from murdering thousands upon thousands of innocent people,” said CODEPINK co-founder Benjamin. “What more can I do? I can go on this flotilla to try to break the criminal siege that Israel has imposed on Gaza.” 

“President Biden waited six months, waited until 33,000 had been killed, mostly women and children, before picking up the phone and demanding that Netanyahu reduce civilian harm, allow more aid in, and protect aid workers,” said CODEPINK’s Wright, a retired U.S. Army colonel and former U.S. diplomat.

“But even if Israel allows more humanitarian aid in, it is still bombing Gaza with U.S. bombs, shooting innocent people and imprisoning the 2.2 million people that live in Gaza. Getting humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza is urgent, but it is not sufficient. We must end Israel’s unlawful, deadly blockade as well as Israel’s overall control of Gaza. That’s why we need this flotilla, filled with unarmed civilians, human rights observers from 30 countries, to challenge Israel’s brutal grip on the Gaza strip.”

Israel’s longstanding neglect of its responsibility as an occupying power to safeguard the health and wellbeing of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank has escalated into genocidal actions, including using starvation as a weapon of war. Israeli leaders have openly declared intentions to collectively punish Gaza’s population.

The Freedom Flotilla opposes Israel’s authority over aid and will refuse any inspection of our cargo. For safety and effective aid distribution, the flotilla will deploy numerous international humanitarian observers from diverse backgrounds and countries.

Despite air drops of food and temporary docks, Israel continues to block thousands of aid trucks from entering Gaza through land crossings. The International Court of Justice’s rulings on Jan. 26 and March 28 emphasize Israel’s obligation to ensure the safety and security of Palestinians in Gaza, including facilitating humanitarian assistance without obstruction.

“The International Court of Justice’s preliminary measures ordered against Israel are very clear,” comments Ismail Moola of South Africa’s Palestine Solidarity Alliance, which is part of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition.

“The court’s ruling requires the whole world to play their part to stop the genocide unfolding in Gaza, including unobstructed access to vital aid. While our governments fail to lead in these urgently required humanitarian responses, people of conscience and our grassroots organizations must act to take leadership. When governments fail, we sail!”

The Freedom Flotilla Coalition is a non-partisan international coalition of campaigns that stand for freedom and human rights in Palestine. They have sailed since 2010 with the goal of breaking the blockade of Gaza, and in solidarity with Palestinians cries for freedom and equality. Their non-violent direct action missions support the dignity and humanity of Palestinians, working with civil society partners, rather than any party, faction or government.  —  CODEPINK

This article if from CodePink.

Views expressed in this article may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

18 comments for “Aid Flotilla Heading to Gaza to Break Siege

  1. Barry Kissin
    April 10, 2024 at 11:42

    Responding to a pointed question at a meet-and-greet on Jan. 6, Rep. David Trone (MD-6) described Israel’s military operations in Gaza as “horrendous and incomprehensible,” said “Netanyahu has to go,” and explicitly called for a “permanent ceasefire.” But on Jan. 23, Trone signed a letter addressed to Anthony Blinken regarding South Africa’s filing against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) under the Genocide Convention as follows: “We write to express our disgust at this filing … We appreciate the strong statement of National Security Council spokesman John Kirby that the South African application is ‘meritless, counterproductive, and completely without any basis in fact whatsoever.’”

    Three days later, on Jan. 26, the ICJ (highest court in the world, whose presiding judge is an American) issued a preliminary ruling sounding more like Trone on Jan. 6 than Trone on Jan. 23, in which the court found a “plausible case of genocide.”

    Call it genocide or not. But if Rep. Trone is serious about “permanent ceasefire,” “horrendous and incomprehensible,” and “Netanyahu has to go,” it is time to vote accordingly and to agree with what Senator Van Hollen said on Face the Nation this past Sunday:

    “And the President’s own national security memorandum number 20 says very specifically, that if a recipient of US military assistance, including the Netanyahu government is restricting the delivery of humanitarian aid, that we should not be sending more weapons. And so it’s very important that the Biden administration enforce its own policy that was signed by the president of the United States as a directive to the government. It needs to be enforced.

    “I was very involved in the negotiation of NSM-20. Defensive weapons are things like air defense, Iron Dome, we’re not taking the position that we should not be sending Israel systems that it needs to defend itself. But offensive weapons, I mean, airplanes, bombs, artillery, everything that’s being used right now in Gaza, these are offensive weapons that are being used. And so what it says is that you shouldn’t be shipping more weapons to the Netanyahu government, when they’re not meeting their commitments, including the delivery of humanitarian aid, or when they’re not complying with international law.

    “So my view is the President needs to do what he said he was going to do, which is see if the Netanyahu government is going to implement these changes in terms of allowing more humanitarian assistance. And we should measure that by people not starving to death, people being able to get medical equipment, kids not being able to not have amputations without anesthesia. So we have a long way to go. And until- until those conditions are met, then no, we should not be sending more offensive weapons to Israel …”

  2. Kurt
    April 10, 2024 at 10:17

    If Medea Benjamin wants to get the attention of the capitalist goons and war criminals in Washington she would stop begging and pleading to those capitalists, who have no interest in stopping the blood flow for cash profits, to listen and address the situation from a class perspective only. The only way forward is educating the global working class to their power to end the genocide in Gaza and the amoral proxy wars of the ruling class, as well as, the extreme exploitation of a capitalist system that is quickening its pace in dragging humanity into the abyss. As the apartment complex burns CodePink is focused on the fire inside the pot on the stovetop.
    Benjamin says that she is walking the halls of Congress everyday, attending rallies every weekend, and writing letters of outrage to Biden every night and nothing has worked. Was she expecting otherwise? The problem with Benjamin and CodePink is they foolishly believe in the reformation of capitalism, that the world capitalist ruling class vultures and their lap dog governments, busy picking at the rotting carrion of the working class, will listen and come around and see the light of a more “altruistic ” exploitation.
    Benjamin will continue scratching her head saying, ” what more can I do?” while she and CodePink refuse to address the giant elephant in the room of capitalism, the malignant economic system that is the cause of every single problem humanity faces.

      April 10, 2024 at 12:26

      CodePink’s mission statement says: “We imagine a future without foreign coercion and without the exploitation of working people and natural resources. An anti-capitalist critique is at the heart of our feminist agenda for global justice.” And: “We seek to contribute to a world without war and violence, where militarism is replaced by cooperation and diplomacy; where poverty is eradicated by replacing capitalist structures of exploitation with sharing, compassionate economies that take care of all people … ”


    • Anaisanesse
      April 11, 2024 at 09:15

      What are you suggesting might work??

    • Paul Robinson
      April 11, 2024 at 16:27

      Isn’t sending and being on the Flotilla addressing the problem??????

  3. Paul Citro
    April 10, 2024 at 09:35

    This is what courage looks like.

  4. Arch Stanton
    April 10, 2024 at 07:26

    You’d think that someone powerful within the media with conscience would help their cause by broadcasting and announcing CodePinks actions?
    Someone like Elon Musk or is he too narcissistic to notice?

  5. David Otness
    April 10, 2024 at 00:51

    You are the peacemakers. “Blessed are the peacemakers.” And your courage and resolve are breathtaking, knowing exactly what you know from previous experience.

  6. CaseyG
    April 9, 2024 at 22:42

    Be safe Code Pink. Perhaps some nearby nations can look out for you too, It is a crime that Joe Biden and Netanyahu are both terrorists. I am amazed that Israel gets more attention and funding than Americans do. Well, I suppose that genocide Joe has a lot of dollars that could be used for Americans—-but apparently, we the People don’t seem attractive to so many wanna be warriors in America.

  7. Em
    April 9, 2024 at 20:43

    W A R N I N G ! You will be entering G E N O C I D E
    N O W I N P R O C E S S Z O N E
    once you approach Gazan territorial waters!

    Israels blockade of any form of humanitarian aid to Gaza is but one direct cause for why surgeons in Gaza have to perform cesarean sections and limb amputations, etc., without anesthetics to save lives.

    Obviously, therefore, seen from an Israeli perspective, the blockade is doing precisely what it is intended to do.
    The “Aid Flotilla Heading to Gaza to Break Siege”; without adequate, viable means – the correct tools to perform the necessary surgery to break the siege, by cutting through the Israeli blockade of the concentration camp, will cause more pain to the inmates than it will alleviate.

    Having the correct and only effective tools, means that persons in the flotilla must understand, and be fully aware they will be regarded as ‘combat ants’ to be eradicated by any means necessary, by the most immoral army in western Asia.

  8. Emma M.
    April 9, 2024 at 20:10

    I assume they need a couple of weeks to get going, but if so, they should have chosen better marketing than “We are ready to sail” when they aren’t yet and “When governments fail, we sail” when they don’t, since that was a long time ago, although I suppose English grammar lacks the sophistication to succinctly put the latter statement in the future tense if they had wanted to. Marketing aside, it’s commendable what they’re doing, brave I think, maybe suicidal.

    I will unfortunately be shocked if the Israelis don’t kill every last one of them the minute they land, as much as I hate to say that, and I’m not so sure what they are doing will make a difference at all other than providing more people for the IDF to blow up and shoot. Even if they provide aid, it is good they are doing what they can, but it will not be enough; states need to deal with the matter if Palestine is to be saved and not NGOs.

    Of course, helping some is better than none when that’s the alternative, and to reiterate, I really hate to say all the above; hopefully it all miraculously works out in defiance of what states are doing (and my cynicism).

  9. Getty Israel
    April 9, 2024 at 19:42

    This is very impressive. I increased my monthly donation.

  10. Carolyn L Zaremba
    April 9, 2024 at 13:59

    Code Pink and the others are brave to make this attempt, but they are not dealing with the root of the problem. A deliberate genocide that has been long-planned and carried out by the Zionists must END. There is no mention in their statement of the fact that Israel’s war against the Palestinians began in 1948, not 2023. There is no mention of the fact that they are pleading with imperialists and war criminals to “do the right thing”, when the Biden administration and the vicious neocons who control it are not listening. They are putting a band aid on an amputation while the blood continues to gush onto the floor. Unless the Zionists are kicked out of Palestine and the country returned to its people, nothing will change. I wish them luck, but they are putting themselves in danger.

    • Stephen Verchinski
      April 10, 2024 at 11:04

      Reduce your income tax return by $25, the amount estimated this year in arms being sent to Israel being supported by the taxpayer.

      You don’t have to comply with Executive Branch and Legislation supported genocide.

  11. Christian J Chuba
    April 9, 2024 at 13:08

    I hope they all have life insurance policies and have gotten their affairs in order. Godspeed. I hope they succeed without suffering any harm.

  12. Drew Hunkins
    April 9, 2024 at 12:58

    A friend of mine from Madison Wisconsin is going to be on this flotilla. Here’s hoping to a successful, beneficial and safe mission.

  13. susan
    April 9, 2024 at 12:50

    Please be careful – we need your voices!!

  14. Tim N
    April 9, 2024 at 12:41

    The Israelis are murderous lunatics . . . I imagine they will say something like, “we can’t be responsible for any casualties in the flotilla,” or “we had way of knowing militants were on board . . ..”

Comments are closed.