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Asia Pacific Report

The Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FFC) has announced in Istanbul a plan to sail again to challenge Israel’s unlawful and deadly siege of Gaza, reports the aid group Kia Ora Gaza.

In the coming weeks, a flotilla will put to sea carrying thousands of tonnes of urgently needed humanitarian aid that will be delivered directly to Palestinians in Gaza, say the organisers.

“After 17 years of a brutal blockade and four months of genocidal assault, including weaponising basic necessities, Palestinians in Gaza are facing an unprecedented and catastrophic humanitarian crisis,” said FFC’s statement.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) last month ordered provisional measures to protect the Palestinians in Gaza from the “plausible risk” of genocide.

Among six strongly worded measures, the ICJ ordered Israel to “take immediate and effective measures to enable the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance to address the adverse conditions of life faced by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.”

This decision followed UN Security Council resolutions in November and December 2023 which called for urgent steps to immediately allow “safe, unhindered, and expanded” humanitarian access to Gaza.

“Israel’s blatant noncompliance with these orders, and the failure of other governments to pressure the occupying power to comply, motivate us as civil society organisations to take action,” said Ismail Moola of the Palestine Solidarity Alliance, South Africa.

‘We need to act immediately’
“It is incumbent upon us to ensure that Palestinians in Gaza receive humanitarian aid. We expect that the Security Council will enforce the ICJ ruling, but due to the dire humanitarian crisis in Gaza we need to act immediately.”

Organisers said plans for the Save Gaza Campaign were ongoing, and the FFC called on the government of Egypt to facilitate the delivery of life-sustaining aid through Rafah into Gaza.

FFC’s mission, For the Children of Gaza, led by the boat Handala, will again set sail from Northern Europe to Gaza in May 2024.

The FFC gathered in Istanbul to plan these campaigns with representatives from the following organisations: Canadian Boat to Gaza (Canada), US Boat to Gaza (USA), Kia Ora Gaza (Aotearoa New Zealand), Free Gaza Australia (Australia), Ship to Gaza (Norway), MyCARE (Malaysia), Ship to Gaza (Sweden), Palestine Solidarity Alliance (South Africa), IHH (Türkiye), Rumbo a Gaza (Spanish State), Mavi Marmara Association (Türkiye) and the International Committee for Breaking the Siege of Gaza.

“Where our governments fail, we sail,” said Karen DeVito of Canadian Boat to Gaza.

“We are charting a course to the conscience of humanity, in solidarity with the Palestinian people.”

She said they called on civil society organisations from around the world who share their values and goals to “support and join us”.

Contact details for Aotearoa New Zealand’s Kia Ora Gaza:
Contact: Roger Fowler
Phone: +64 212 999 491
Facebook: KiaOraGaza

Cook Islands at yesterday's pro-Palestine protest in Auckland's Te Komititanga Square yesterday
Cook Islands at yesterday’s pro-Palestine protest in Auckland’s Te Komititanga Square yesterday. Image: David Robie/APR
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