Freedom Flotilla III
|Blockade of the|
|Viva Palestina "Lifeline 3"|
|Freedom Flotilla III|
Freedom Flotilla III (#FF3) was a flotilla that planned to break the blockade of the Gaza Strip by Israel by sailing to Gaza. It started from Sweden on 10 May 2015 and stopped in several European cities along the way to Gaza. It started officially from Athens, Greece on 25 June 2015. Few details were released in advance.
On 29 June 2015 the Swedish-flagged vessel "Marianne" was intercepted by the Israeli navy in international waters about 100 nautical miles from the Palestinian coast of Gaza. The Israeli military reported that no force was needed during the operation. However, eye-witness video published by Israeli Channel 2 TV shows people being tasered by IDF commandos. The Marianne was boarded by Israeli forces and taken to the port of Ashdod, while the rest of the ships turned back.
Organizers of the flotilla have repeatedly stated the boat was carrying humanitarian aid for Gaza. According to Israel’s defense minister Moshe Yaalon “there was no aid on board”. The activists supplied a picture with two boxes containing a single solar panel and a nebulizer and added the boat was to be donated to Gazan fishermen.
On 30 June 2015, Israel began releasing some detainees. Former Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki was deported to Paris, France, Member of European Parliament Ana Miranda from Galicia to Spain . Arab Member of the Israeli Knesset Basel Ghattas and Israeli journalist Ohad Chamo were released. Two Canadians and a Norwegian sailor were deported on July 2. A Russian journalist and six Swedish participants remained in prison until July 6.
Reactions to the Flotilla
- Israel's stated plan was to "welcome" the flotilla participants and hand them letters with a message from the Prime Minister's Office: "Perhaps you meant to sail somewhere else nearby – Syria, where Assad's regime is massacring his people every day, with the support of the murderous Iranian regime."
- UN-ESCWA: The UN Undersecretary-General and Executive Secretary of UN-ESCWA Rima Khalaf issued a statement condemning Israel’s detention former Tunisian president Moncef Marzouki. Khalaf concluded "What president Marzouki and his companions did is a practice of a right and a response to the call of conscience to lift the injustice and suffering of 1.8 million civilians under siege in Gaza. What Israel did is aggression and offence".
- ISESCO: ISESCO condemned seizure of Freedom Flotilla Gaza 3 vessel carrying humanitarian supplies to the people of Gaza Strip. It called on the international community to put pressure on the Zionist regime to promptly release all people on board and guarantee their safety including Moncef Marzouki.
- Tunisia: Tunisia condemned the interception by the Israeli occupation forces of one of the vessels of the Freedom III flotilla and the President Moncef Marzouki and release, immediately, all participants in this flotilla. Tunisia calls, in a Foreign Ministry statement, to, immediately, release all participants in this Freedom flotilla, holding the Israeli occupation responsible for their safety and that of President Moncef Marzouki.
- Qatar: The State of Qatar strongly condemned the Israeli occupation forces interception of Freedom Flotilla III heading to Gaza and the detention of former Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki. The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the officials are following with concern the development of the situation in the Gaza Strip, the continuation of the Israeli violations and cutting off humanitarian supplies for Gaza's population, calling for quickly release of Marzouki and the rest of the participants. The statement called on the international community to take immediate action to stop the Israeli abuse and lift the siege on the Gaza Strip.
- Sweden: The Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has condemned Israel for its intervention on the Swedish leader vessel, Marianne, in international waters during its participation in the Third Freedom Flotilla to Gaza. The statement asked Israel to lift the blockade in Gaza immediately.
- Vice Chairman of Hamas political bureau Ismail Haniyeh condemned the Israeli piracy against Freedom Flotilla 3. Haniya stated that such piracy highlights the Israeli policy of violation of the International law, and reflects the Israeli terrorism that prevents freedom of sailing to and from the Strip. Haniya slammed the Israeli interception of prominent figures participating in Freedom Flotilla 3, including the former Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki, stressing that such Israeli act breaches diplomatic and international norms. Haniya praised Marzouki as a defender of the Arab Spring and Arab revolutions that support the Palestinian cause.
- Tunisia's parties, Ennahda Movement, Democratic Forum, Republican Party, Congress for the Republic, Democratic Current and Hizb ut-Tahrir (Tunisia Branch) Issued statements condemning interception fleet, and in solidarity with the Palestinian people and the Gaza Strip, and calls for the international community to intervene to ensure the safety of the participants, led by former President Moncef Marzouki.
- Spain's Podemos and Galician Nationalist Bloc have criticized Israeli action to disrupt the Third Gaza Freedom Flotilla. In a written statement, the Galician Nationalist Bloc described Israeli action as "piracy", and it called on Spain’s Foreign Ministry to take a tough stance over the incident and face the Gaza issue head on. Podemos's spokesman also urged the international community to raise its voice against Israel.
This is not a complete list, see the full list here on the official website
The following ships participated in the flotilla:
- "Freedom Flotilla III sets sail from Sweden to break Gaza siege". Middle East Monitor. 13 May 2015. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
- "Freedom Flotilla III expected to set sail for Gaza". The Jerusalem Post. 1 May 2015. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
- "Israeli Navy Peacefully Intercepts Gaza-Bound Vessel". The New York Times. June 29, 2015.
- "IDF violence against passangers [sic] of Ship to Gaza boat Marianne". YouTube. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
- "Freedom Flotilla III: Marianne approaches Gaza, sailing boats return back". Freedom Flotilla Coalition. June 29, 2015. Retrieved February 9, 2016.
- "The 'humanitarian aid' aboard a recent flotilla to Gaza fit in two cardboard boxes". The Washington Post. July 1, 2015.
- "Israel deports Tunisia ex-president after Gaza flotilla". The Times of India. June 30, 2015.
- "Israel deports activists after Gaza flotilla seizure". Press TV. June 30, 2015.
- "Three released tomorrow (02/07), Kevorkova and all Swedes retained". Freedom Flotilla Coalition. July 3, 2015.
- "The detained Swedes will be deported during Sunday and Monday". Freedom Flotilla Coalition. July 3, 2015.
- "Israel intercepts Gaza-bound flotilla in 'casualty-free' operation". Haaretz. June 29, 2015.
- "UN Undersecretary-General slams Israel's detention of former Tunisian president". Daily News Egypt. June 30, 2015.
- "ISESCO condemns Israeli action to seize Freedom Flotilla". Islamic Republic News Agency. June 30, 2015. Retrieved February 9, 2016.
- "Tunisia Calls for Release of Participants in Freedom III Flotilla". AllAfrica.com. June 29, 2015.
- "Qatar Condemns Interception of Freedom Flotilla III". Qatar News Agency. June 30, 2015.
- "Sweden reacts to Israeli capture of Gaza flotilla vessel". Anadolu Agency. June 30, 2015.
- "Haniya condemns Israeli piracy against Freedom Flotilla 3". Hamas. June 29, 2015.
- "بيان حركة النهضة إثر قرصنة أسطول الحرية 3". Ennahda Movement. June 29, 2015.
- "بيان حزب التكتل إثر سيطرة بحرية سلط الاحتلال الإسرائيلية على سفينة ماريان". Democratic Forum for Labour and Liberties. June 29, 2015.
- "بيان: اقدم جيش الاحتلال الإسرائيلي على اعتراض سفينة " ماريان" التابعة لاسطول". Republican Party (Tunisia). June 29, 2015.
- "التيّار الديمقراطي يدين عملية القرصنة التي قامت بها سلطات الإحتلال الصهيوني للسفينة "ماريان"". Democratic Current. June 29, 2015.
- "بيان صحفي حول اعتقال "حملة أسطول الحرية". Hizb ut-Tahrir. June 29, 2015.
- "Spain: Left wing parties condemn Israeli flotilla action". Anadolu Agency. June 30, 2015.