Free Gaza Movement Team
Normally we don’t ask for donations for specific items, since all donations to our tax-exempt accounts in Cyprus or the U.S. are used to buy the boats or for operating costs However, we are sending out this special appeal to the hundreds of you who have said, “But can’t I contribute to something specific, something that I can be proud to buy and know will help the people of Gaza?” Therefore, we have set up our PayPal account at http://Greta Berlin, France, www.freegaza.org/en/donate to accept donations for cement and book bags. In the message section on PayPal, tell us you want the money to purchase cement or book bags. Or you can wire money into the Irish account designated below this announcement. We will use your donation for cement for reconstruction or book bags for the children if you designate it’s for them.
The Free Gaza Movement calls on communities, schools, hospitals, trade unions and families across Ireland and the world to sponsor bags of cement and school supplies to send to Gaza. They will be loaded onto our Irish cargo ship, the MV Rachel Corrie, as part of an international flotilla of ships sailing to Gaza in May.
Just €5 will pay for a bag of cement to help the people of Gaza rebuild, supporting the Palestinian people and their refusal to be broken despite a devastating siege and Occupation. €5 for a bag of cement (or €10 for two bags, €20 for four bags, €100 for 20 bags) or €10 for a school/sports bag.
Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza is in its third year, and virtually no reconstruction materials have been allowed into the Gaza Strip, which is still in ruins after Israel’s massive onslaught in Dec/Jan 2009 which killed over 1,400 Palestinians, almost 400 of them children.
At least 11,000 houses, 105 factories, 20 hospitals and clinics, 159 schools, universities, playschools and technical institutions were either damaged or destroyed and are still in ruins. Over 20,000 people were driven from their homes – many still living in tents.
Israel has also banned books, paper, pens and school supplies, and we plan to deliver them along with messages of solidarity to the children of Gaza. For €10, you can sponsor a school bag filled with school supplies to support children struggling to study under siege.
John Ging, the Director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency told reporters in March 2010: ‘I have no cement or steel or iron. We can’t get in one bag of cement, one pane of glass… to actually begin that reconstruction.’
This May, The Free Gaza Movement is answering the call for help by sending a flotilla of boats carrying building supplies, humanitarian relief, and human rights defenders from across the world to Gaza.
The flotilla is made up of a coalition of organisations- from Turkey, Greece, Malaysia, Belgium, Sweden, Indonesia and Ireland, and will set sail in mid May to challenge the illegality of the siege of Gaza and devastating occupation of Palestine. Help us support the Palestinians’ right to rebulid their lives.
You can wire your donations to the Bank of Ireland, 32 south Mall, Cork, Republic of Ireland, Acct #41818255, Sort Code 902768, IBAN #, IE58BOFI90276841818255. BIC# BOFIIE2D
If you have questions, please email:
“Introducing the MV Rachel Corrie”
Written by Free Gaza Team
(Dundalk, Ireland, April 20, 2010) The 1200-ton cargo ship had been abandoned in July 2009, off the coast of Ireland. She was then impounded after an inspection by the International Transport Federation (ITF) discovered her owners had exploited their Lithuanian crewmembers – not paying their wages and subjecting them to humiliating treatment, and they had been left with just one day of food. The 42-year-old MV Linda languished for nine months, waiting in the port of Dundalk for just the right buyer to rescue her. http://www.flickr.com/photos/29205195@N02/
On March 31, 2010, the Free Gaza Movement bought her at auction for €70,000 and will send her to the imprisoned Palestinians of Gaza loaded with cement, paper, and medical equipment, all banned by Israel from this battered and bruised slice of the Mediterranean.
ITF Inspector and Union organizer Ken Fleming was ecstatic: “We are pleased to announce that this vessel which was used to subject workers to modern day slavery, will now be used to promote human rights for the people of Palestine”.
Added Derek Graham the bidder for Free Gaza and one of the organizers of the flotilla, “We are doing this to show the people of Gaza that they are not alone. There’s nothing going into Gaza, no aid. We are prepared to run the blockade to try and get aid in. We have done it before. Out of eight previous attempts, five were successful.”
The Free Gaza Movement along with the Turkish humanitarian organization, IHH, the European Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza and the Greek and Swedish Boat to Gaza organizations will sail 8 boats loaded with building supplies as well as taking 600 passengers and journalists at the end of May.
As the people from the town of Dundalk work on her every day, painting her, guarding her and collecting cargo, they have a vested interest in what was once a lonely and abandoned vessel, now slowly coming to life under their care. The ship has been renamed the MV Rachel Corrie, in memory of the 23-year-old solidarity activist crushed to death in 2003 by an Israeli military bulldozer as she attempted to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home in Gaza.
On May Day weekend, a mini convoy of vans loaded with medical supplies from eight different cities in Ireland and England will be delivering and loading these badly-needed supplies on the ship. The people of Norway have donated more than 6 tons of paper and school supplies with a goal of 25 tons to be loaded as cargo. Israel refuses to allow paper and supplies in for the children.
One of Free Gaza’s organizers, Caoimhe Butterly, stated, ” The public response to the cargo ship has been immense, and we hope that in the remaining three weeks before we set sail, communities across Ireland will continue to mobilize and gather supplies. The humanitarian crisis in Gaza is a symptom of Israel’s siege and Occupation, and this flotilla will spot-light the devastating collective punishment that is being imposed on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.”
With everyone’s help, the MV Rachel Corrie will be painted, outfitted, then filled with cargo and ready to leave shortly after May Day, a testimony to civil society doing what governments have refused to do…alleviate the suffering of the people of Gaza. Your donations for supplies are still vitally needed. You can earmark your donation for cement or school books and send through our donate page at http://www.freegaza.org/en/donate.