The iniquities of how Israel’s blockade causes continual suffering of the Gazan population have been detailed elsewhere. This is about trying to do something.
You are probably aware of sea and land convoys attempting to break the blockade. (Although the ship “Dignity” and “Viva Palestina” land convoy have received most publicity, the first attempt to break the blockade came from Israelis themselves, as Gush Shalom and others put together a convoy from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in January 2009.
The problem has always been finding a way to get the stuff there, as the Israeli army and navy maintain their stranglehold over land and sea access to Gaza. This month, a new attempt is being made, with one of our close partner organisations being directly involved. JIPF, the Swedish group that belongs, like us, to the EJJP network is one of the organisations behind the Swedish Ship to Gaza project. They’ll be sailing with a number of other boats in the Freedom Flotilla.
Instead of small boats, Ship to Gaza has purchased a 67m cargo ship – the Sophia, with a capacity of 1450 tonnes and an intended cargo of two desalination machines, spare parts for restoring water supply and sewage facilities – and around 1000 tones of cement.
This is where you come in.
One tonne of cement costs around €50 or £43. A Greek supplier has been found who will offer the cement at a significant discount: cement can easily cost anything up to €80/tonne.
They leave in about ten days – 21 May, hoping to arrive in Gaza just under a week later. In that time, we want to raise as much money as possible to buy cement – and everyone that does donate will have their name added to a list that will accompany the cargo.
JfJfP signatories have collectively donated thousands of pounds before when we have placed adverts in newspapers. We’re looking for enough to buy 50 tonnes – around £2500.
If you are a UK resident, then the best way to do this is via the British Shalom-Salaam Trust charity. This is particularly true if you are a taxpayer, as if you tick the gift aid box, BSST can reclaim the tax – increasing your donation by 28%. So if you donate the cost of one tonne – £43 – the actual donation works out at around £55. Click here to make a donation online using a credit card. If you prefer to make a bank transfer or send a cheque – payable to BSST – in the post, then please click here for the down loadable gift aid form (a Word file) which may then be emailed or posted to BSST – details are on the form.
In a recent interview with the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten (article in Norwegian, but video i/v in English) John Ging, UNWRA director said “It’s way overdue that the international community look to what it can actually do, more than just making statements about what needs to be done.” The blockade of Gaza is an unjust, collective punishment. This is your opportunity to do something about it. Here are one or two reminders as to why your help is so badly needed: