World Bulletin / News Desk
Sweden's third aid ship 'Estelle' and 20 peace supporters on board have been on their way to Gaza since June 20.
Rights activists on the "Ship to Gaza Sweden 'Estella'" which is sailing to bring relief equipment to Gaza have said, "If Israeli government commits another terrible crime, we cannot stop them."
Media coordinator of the Ship to Gaza Estella campaign, Mikael Lofgren informed Anadolu Agency about the ship and their initiative.
Ship to Gaza "Estella" left for the city of Gaza from Umea, north of Sweden on June 20 with twenty people on board including several Israelis.
Estella has been sailing away with people from different professions. There are musicians, journalists, academics, sailors and parliamentarians. They are from Sweden, Finland, Norway, Canada, Spain, USA, Greece and Israel.
Lofgren told AA that the ship which carries relief equipment to Gaza had a stopover in Naples, Italy las week and will not be making any more stops until they reach Gaza.
According to the statement on activists' website that despite of Israeli pressure on Italian authorities to stop Estelle from leaving Naples, Italian officials remained unmovable. They noted that the ship was protected all the time.
Lofgren told AA that last year they wanted to carry on the same activity however the ship called Juliano was blocked in Greek harbours. He added, "This has been our third time to send aid to Gaza, previously we were with the first Freedom Flotilla, was with the Turkish ship of Mavi Marmara.
SELLING NAUTICAL MILES
Estella carries 41 tonnes of cement, 300 foot balls, musical instruments, children books and theatre equipment for social solidarity. Rights activists state on their website that they prefer to provide people of Gaza with more sophisticated equipment such as equipment for producing their own water and electricity and to repair damages caused by war. In order to achieve this they sell nautical miles. Their aim is to collect 500,000 Euros. "The distance from Scandinavia to Gaza is well over 5,000 nautical miles. Selling each mile at 100 Euros would yield a total of 500,000 Euros-enough to cover freight and cargo expenses," they publish on their "Ship to Gaza Sweden" website.
Lofgren noted that the ship is planned to arrive Gaza on October 20 and when asked how they assess the Israeli embargo on Palestinians, he replied, "We call it blockade or siege because that is what it is. We think it is illegal, inhuman and destructive for all parties involved."
As Western countries are not being sensitive enough over the Palestine dispute or Gaza blockade, Swedish activist shared his point of view by saying, "They are not really caring because of the lack of integrity and self respect. Our action is a reminder to our governments to act accordingly to their speeches on human rights and international law."
Lofgren highlighted that Ship to Gaza Estella is an international, global initiative and he underlined that they did not ask for Jewish community's support in Sweden because they receive support from both individuals and organizations without in need of asking anyways. He added that their petition website gather many signatories from all over the world, including Turkish supporters.
Asked if they have received any messages from the Israeli government, Lofgren said, "We received indirect messages of some arrogant and cynical remarks of how small our ship was and how few our crew was. It seems that the Israeli government has not understood yet that the power does not lie in size."
REST IS UP TO ISRAELI GOVERNMENT
They introduce their activity as, "Our voyage is a natural, brotherly action; our objective is humanitarian."
Swedish activist expressed that they are not scared of a possible Israeli blockade but aware of the risks, he added, "We have non-violent practices on board with all passengers. During our voyage we have been open to all authorities and the public about ourselves and what we carry. These two are what we can do. The rest is up to Israeli government. If they commit another terrible crime, then we cannot stop them."
In May 2010, the first Freedom Flotilla concluded in a disaster when nine Turkish citizens were shot to death by Israeli armed forces on the Turkish Mavi Marmara which was the leading ship.