In a challenge to the continuing Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip, Swedish and Norwegian activist groups will launch an aid ship from Oslo next week, with organizers wanting to attract international attention to the conflict.
The humanitarian mission, as organized by "Ship to Gaza" aims to ferry supplies and aid for Palestinians in Gaza. The group also has plans to "send boats in empty-handed in order to help export Palestinian goods out of Gaza."
"We have the same goal as the previous flotillas, to put an end to the blockade of Gaza by challenging the Israeli navy," said Torstein Dahle, the leader of the Norwegian section of the activist group "Ship to Gaza".
"This time around it will be an easy task for the Israelis to stop us because we will be so few and strictly non-violent"
Previous attempts at aid deliveries into Gaza have not been without troubles.
In May 2010 the Freedom Flotilla, "organized by the Free Gaza Movement and the Turkish Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (İHH), was carrying humanitarian aid and construction materials, with the intention of breaking the Israeli-Egyptian blockade of the Gaza Strip."
The Israeli Navy boarded the ships and a struggle ensued, ending in the deaths of 9 civilians. "All activist casualties were caused by gunshots, some of them at point blank range. Ten of the commandos were also wounded, one of them seriously."
The incident received global condemnation, as the ships were in international waters at the time, and Israeli forces were found by investigators to have used excessive and unnecessary force.
In 2008 an Israeli patrol boat struck a ship carrying medical volunteers and supplies to Gaza. The collision resulted in severe damage to the 60-foot Dignity, which was carrying 16 passengers, including former U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney.
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