Activists determined to break Gaza siege
Sun Jun 26, 2011 1:58PM
Interview with Mohammed Sawalha, Gaza aid flotilla coordinator, London
Despite Israel's escalating threats to stop the new Gaza aid flotilla, hundreds of activists from across the globe are getting ready to take part in the event, the flotilla coordinator says.
More than 10 vessels and hundreds of activists from different nationalities will be sailing to break the siege on Gaza in an attempt to ease some of the frustrations that the people in Gaza face every day.
In May 2010, Israel assaulted the freedom flotilla I very brutally in an event described as a massacre in which 9 people were killed and dozens injured.
Press TV talks to Mohammed Sawalha, Gaza aid flotilla coordinator, to ask him about the aims and plans of the flotilla.
Press TV: Welcome to the show sir. Where are we now with the flotilla plans?
Sawalha: We are now in the last stage of preparations. We have now around 12 ships ready to sail and we already have hundreds of activists in the area there in Greece and other countries and we are just waiting till the end of the month to leave.
Press TV: What have you been preparing for this year's flotilla in light of what happened last year?
Sawalha: We know how the Israelis behave and we are putting it in our minds that the Israelis can do anything and all the activists are really ready to face the Israelis policies.
We understand that the Palestinians are paying the price everyday inside Palestine because of the crimes of the Israelis to keep the siege, you know, by killing the Palestinians and not allowing even medicine and food to cross to Gaza.
Because of this, all the activists are really ready to pay a part of the price and to behave like Palestinians. We like to put ourselves in the same situation and to say that if the Palestinians are paying that for their freedom, we have to do something for them.
Press TV: I guess when you are planning for a big event like this, anything could happen and, as you said, everyone is prepared but we are talking about 9 people who died last year. That is very difficult for activists on this side of the pond to reconcile with that. There is a real danger for them here, isn't there?
Sawalha: Yes, after that incident we believe that the Israelis tried to send a message to all of us, saying that the price will be very high and everyone in Mavi Marmara and the whole flotilla I at that time said that we are going to go and next time in a bigger flotilla and in bigger number and now we think we are fulfilling our promise.
The number of the ships will be more and the number of the activists will be more and we have now, just as I told you and everybody, a big number of politicians, MPs, MEPs, writers, novelists and activists, people from everywhere.
Our plan was to bring people's delegations from around 100 countries around the world and we think we will come to that number.
Press TV: But Mohammed, one of the key questions here is about the political intent of this voyage. What statements are you trying to make by breaking the siege on Gaza?
Sawalha: We think that the siege on Gaza is a crime and everybody after the attack on the first flotilla even the western politicians, all of them, said at that time that this is an illegal siege and it is a criminal siege and it should be finished.
What happened after one year? Because of the Israeli pressure and because of the American pressure, we saw that nothing happened. Now we would like to send our message again that the people from everywhere have the same strength to go again and to remind everybody around the world especially the politicians that this will not be acceptable and we will continue doing our work until we see this criminal siege completely finished.
Press TV: Though there are attempts to silence those wanting to go, those people taking part and their supporters will not be cowed. Is that the message you and everyone on the flotilla want to send?
Sawalha: Yes, we want to send a very strong message. The Israelis, their policies and their crimes will not stop us and again everyone from everywhere, from America, Canada, Australia, European countries, the Arab world and the Islamic world, would like to come with us.
Let me tell you something, we have a big struggle in each country. We have a huge number of people who would like to come with us but we are sorry because we do not have enough space for everyone. I would like to add that the Israelis crimes will not stop anyone.
Now the Israelis have to understand that their policies and crimes will not make us turn away and go back. We will continue under any circumstances until we break the siege on Gaza.