Freedom Flotilla Coalition planning bigger mission to Gaza next year

MASRIWANIE MUHAMADING


KUALA LUMPUR: The international Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FFC), a grassroot people-to-people solidarity movement that aim to end the illegal Israeli siege in Gaza, is planning to organise a bigger humanitarian mission to the war-torn land with at least two large boats next year.


Former United States diplomat Ann Wright, who was involved in the campaign for the humanitarian mission, said that they plan to organise at least 12 national campaigns throughout the world to raise funds for the mission which is expected to take place in September or October next year.


"We plan to purchase several boats for 2018 humanitarian mission. We are not sure yet how many or how big the boats will be as it all depends on how much funds we are able to collect.


"However, we hope to have at least two or three boats and hopefully the boats can accommodate about 40 to 50 people each.


"So it will be a much larger campaign. That is why we need 18 months for the fundraising efforts so that we will be able to sail to Gaza in September or October next year," she said.


Wright was speaking to reporters during one of MyCARE donation campaigns, Lunch4Humanity, at the Saloma Bistro and Theatre Restaurant at the Malaysia Tourism Centre (MaTiC) in Jalan Ampang here today.


Also present were MyCARE chairman Associate Prof. Dr Hafidzi Mohd Noor and MyCARE board of trustees Dr Fauziah Mohd Hasan and Norsham Abu Bakar.


She added that they have not set any goals yet for the fundraising effort but said that they may require about US$400,000 to US$500,000 for the expenses of two to three large boats.


"And that does not include the cost for the delegates who will be involved in the journey.


"Maybe the delegates themselves can volunteer to pay for their own expenses to participate in the journey because we want to put as much money into the actual boats as possible.


"But again, when we asked the people of Gaza whether they want us to do fundraising for projects inside Gaza or they want the boat project to continue, so far they all said they want the boats to continue to come," she said.


Wright also said that they are also organising Solidarity with Fishermen or Fishers of Gaza this year as an effort to raise funds as well as awareness on the issues faced by the fisherman in the Gaza Strip due to the restriction by the Israeli military.


She said that the fishermen, which also include young women, were prevented from going to the deep sea and forced to stay within two to three miles of the coast which is very polluted and not much fish can be found.


"If the fishermen go past the restriction area they will be shot. We want the world to know what is happening so that pressure can be put on the Israeli military to lift the restriction on the fishermen," she said adding that the campaign has only started in US last week.