The Zaytouna-Oliva flotilla was intercepted by the Israeli Navy in international waters today on Wednesday, October 5th.
The Zaytouna-Oliva was a boat carrying 13 female activists who are part of the freedom flotilla known as “Women’s Boat to Gaza.” These activists were attempting to break the decade-long illegal siege of Gaza and provide aid to those in need.
These activists include Irish Nobel Peace laureate Mairead Maguire, Malaysian doctor Fauziah Hasan, and retired US army colonel Ann Wright.
These 13 activists began their journey on the 14th of September, setting sail from a port in Barcelona. Just hours ago they were intercepted by the Israeli navy and are being lead to the Israeli port of Ashdod.
Ann Wright has sent out an SOS video online informing the public that her and her crew have been captured by the Israeli Navy, urging US citizens to call president Barack Obama and urge him to demand their immediate release. See the video below.
The Amal-Hope, the second boat in the freedom flotilla, unfortunately broke down before it could begin its journey.
2016 has marked the 10 year anniversary of the devastating siege in Gaza imposed by the state of Israel. Because of the siege, Gazans do not have access to the adequate resources necessary to help them cope with serious health problems, massive impoverishment, destruction of infrastructure and crippling economic instability.
The Palestinian Ministry of health in Gaza has reported chronic shortages of medicines and hospital disposals. “Shelves are empty due to the restrictions imposed by the Israelis on people and goods going in and out of the coastal enclave,” an MOH spokesman stated.
Many attempts to break the siege in Gaza have been made. One of the most notable ones was when a Freedom Flotilla was attacked by Israeli commandos in May of 2010. Nine Turkish activists were killed in the assault and several others were wounded. The ship was towed into an Israeli port and the remaining survivors were then arrested.