Jim Manly, a former Canadian lawmaker, said at a news conference in Vancouver on Wednesday that Gaza’s Ark group has been making the boat under cooperation of a group of Palestinian and international experts.
“We want to bring a message of solidarity for the Palestinians of Gaza and to remind them that they are not alone in the struggle (against the Israeli blockade),” Manly said.
He left Vancouver after the press conference for the Italian port city of Naples to board the Estelle ship, which will carry humanitarian aid to Gaza later in October.
The Israeli regime denies about 1.7 million people in Gaza their basic rights, including the freedom of movement and the right to decent living, work, health and education.
According to the mission statement of Gaza’s Ark, the group has been building the boat “in Gaza using existing resources.”
“A crew of internationals and Palestinians will sail it out of Gaza… carrying Palestinian products to fulfill trade deals with international buyers to challenge the illegal and inhuman Israeli blockade,” the statement reads.
Manly also said that Estelle, with about 17 activists expected to be on board, is part of the Freedom Flotilla movement against the Israeli regime’s blockade, and it will carry an anchor for the boat.
On May 31, 2010, Israeli forces attacked the Gaza-bound humanitarian Freedom Flotilla in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea, killing nine Turkish nationals aboard Turkey’s Mavi Marmara and injuring about 50 other activists who were part of the six-ship convoy.