Gaza Freedom Flotilla leaves from Palermo to break blockade


(JTA) — The mayor of the southern Italian town of Palermo renamed a section of the port in honor of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

Mayor Leoluca Orlando made the announcement last week after the arrival of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla at the port, from where it will leave in an attempt to break Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza, the New Matilda reported. New Matilda editor Chris Graham is on one of the flotilla boats.

Sblockadeaccording to the Freedom Flotilla coalition. Prior to its last stop in Palermo, the flotilla visited 15 European ports over two months to garner support.

From 2008 through 2016, international activists have sailed 31 boats to challenge the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza.

In May, Israel’s Navy stopped a boat carrying 17 Palestinians from Gaza that attempted to breach the maritime blockade of the coastal strip. It was the first   public attempt to break out of the blockade and not into it.

In 2010, Israeli commandos killed nine Turkish citizens in clashes on the Mavi Marmara, that sailed with five others from Cyprus in an attempt to break the Gaza blockade.

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