Freedom Flotilla Denied Right to Sail to Gaza by Guinea-Bissau Officials

The authorities of Guinea-Bissau blocked a flotilla of three ships from delivering humanitarian supplies from Turkey to Gaza.

During an inspection, the authorities removed the national flags of three ships, which prevented them from taking their voyage.

The Freedom Flotilla Coalition, an alliance of Turkish and international groups, saw the removal of the ships’ registration as an apparent political ploy.

Claiming tight ties between the Israeli prime minister and the president of Guinea-Bissau, the organizers accused Israel of trying to sabotage the flotilla. Hundreds of Turkish and foreign participants were unhappy with the cancelation. Members of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition come from all over the world, including Turkey’s Mavi Marmara Association and the IHH. In 2010, they were a part of another flotilla that met with tragic results when Israeli commandos raided the Mavi Marmara in international seas, leading to a violent confrontation that killed nine people and injured many more protestors.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Nations’ World Food Program (WFP) have announced their partnership to provide humanitarian supplies to Gaza via maritime routes. Coalition members are pushing for policies that will reassure humanitarian players more, and officials from the United States and the World Food Programme are working together to figure out how to help Palestinian people in an unbiased, independent way.

The civilian Freedom Flotilla Coalition, comprising human rights activists who have banded together to provide relief directly to Gaza, is primarily organized by the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH). According to health officials in the enclave, at least 34,305 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s attack on Gaza. Several UN experts have voiced their concern for the flotilla’s safety and have stressed the significance of Israel following ICJ directives and international law.

They can’t sail without a flag, activists said, but they’re still hell-bent on breaking Israel’s unlawful siege and helping the Gazan people.