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Canadian postal union joins Gaza flotilla

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TORONTO (JTA) — The Canadian Union of Postal Workers has joined a coalition of Muslim, Arab and human rights groups that plans on taking a boat to Gaza this autumn.

"Canadian civil society has a responsibility to fight the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza and to expose the Canadian government’s unjustified support for Israel," the coalition, which calls itself Canada Boat Gaza, said in a statement on its website. "The time has come to send a Canadian boat to challenge the blockade of Gaza, in coordination with similar international efforts."

The postal workers union joined the effort after Canada Post announced earlier this month that it is suspending outgoing mail service to Gaza because its Israeli counterpart said delivery to the region was "unavailable."

"Mail is something that’s important for people. It is contact with members of family and the outside world," union president Denis Lemelin told the Toronto Star. "It’s always important to find an alternative, and this alternative is the boat to Gaza."

The group says it needs $300,000 to carry out its mission.

In May, the union denounced Israel’s interception of the Turkish aid flotilla in which nine activists died, calling it "an act of piracy." In 2008, the union voted to back the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel. The fall mission is slated to include two survivors of the failed May flotilla.

For its part, Canada Post has washed its hands of the project, saying the effort "is in no way affiliated with, or supported by Canada Post."
 

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