lifted from Aftenposten.no
(note to Aftenposten journalist twat, the UNHRC was put in their place by the UNs Secretary-General’s Panel of Enquiry, who clearly stated that not only is Israel legally entitled to imposing a blockade of Gaza, but they are also entitled to enforce it. The UNHRC is a discredited gang of really useless idiots, most of whom appointed by the likes of Syria and other such human rights paradises. Get your facts straight next time.)
Norwegian Gaza activists cast off
Nils Johan Sjøstrøm (49) from Oslo is the boss in the galley when the ship “Estelle” sets sails towards Gaza on Saturday to protest the Israeli blockade.
By: Elisabeth Rodum, Published: 05.okt. 2012 12:06 Updated: 05.okt. 2012 12:06
A year ago, the Ship to Gaza fleet came to an end at a port outside Athens. Now the organizers are attempting once more to o reach Gaza. The goal is to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza and bring humanitarian aid to the Palestinian territories.
The ship has visited a number of European ports in recent weeks. After loading 41 tons of cement, more than 1,000 soccer balls, medicines and parts for irrigation systems, the Norwegian-Swedish action ship “Estelle” sets sail from Naples on Saturday. According to plans, the ship is to reach Gaza after a two-week voyage.
– Uneven match
Traveling along on the journey is Nils Johan Sjøstrøm (49) from Oslo. He is the ship’s cook, and one of three Norwegians on board. He is not exactly fearful, but he is prepared for the the possibility that Israeli navy will come to stop activists from sailing to Gaza and board.
– The danger I expose myself to so very much smaller than what the people in Gaza experience daily If they border the ship, I’m going to put my ladle and show the palms of my hands to signal that I am not going to attack, said the cook.
The former journalist and seasoned Blitzed shoulder emphasizes his humanist beliefs and insists that he is not a militant .
– It is an uneven match. We are a non-violent group of activists with a humanistic perspective that meets one of the world’s greatest military powers, Sjøstrøm says.
17 people will be on board, “Estelle” when the ship leaves Naples this week, but according Sjøstrøm, several more will join the ship on its way to Gaza. And eventually more ships are scheduled to sail to Gaza in a flotilla.
In May 2010, six ships with over 680 activists on board were intercepted by Israeli forces off the coast of the Gaza Strip, where the Islamist Hamas movement is in power. Nine Turkish activists were killed in the clashes on the ship “Mavi Marmara”.
A report by the UN Commission on Human Rights (UNHCR) stated that the Israeli boarding of the Gaza flotilla in international waters was illegal. Israel said it acted in legitimate self-defense, and that the Israeli soldiers fired live ammunition when fellow soldier’s life was in danger.
Israel justifies the blockade and they must prevent the smuggling of weapons into the Hamas regime in Gaza by sea. Among other such weapons, rockets that militant Hamas Islamists fire over Israel regularly.
Life has become harder for the population in the Gaza Strip since armed Hamas members in 2007 chased security forces of the Palestinian Authority out of the strip. This is one of the most important reason for the Israeli blockade.
The Norwegian ship’s cook says that the five-year blockade does not prevent weapons from reaching Gaza, and he believes the blockade could lead to increased support for Hamas among the population.
– Weapons come into Gaza, but not food and medicines. When people are suffering and under pressure, it will lead to extremist policies, he said.
– The international community agrees that the blockade is illegal, but nobody puts pressure on Israel to lift the illegal blockade. Our action is a symbolic gesture to show people of Gaza that they are not forgotten, says Sjøstrøm.