In contravention of international law, the 1.9 million Palestinians living in Gaza are besieged by the Israeli military on land, sea and air.
Various attempts have been made to bring desperately needed humanitarian aid to Gaza.
In 2009 I joined 1,400 internationals for the Gaza Freedom March. We met in Cairo but the Egyptian government prevented all but 100 of us from taking aid into Gaza.
In 2010 the Mavi Marmara was attacked in international waters and 10 activists were killed.
Two days ago the Women’s Boat to Gaza, the Zaytouna-Oliva, was intercepted by the Israeli Occupation Navy about 40 nautical miles from the Port of Gaza and the 13 human rights activists were kidnapped.
Nobel prizewinner Mairead Maguire gave a final message: ‘We are people of the world, we should be allowed to visit our brothers and sisters in Gaza and not be stopped. We will continue to support the people of Gaza and the people of Palestine until they have their human rights and their freedom.’ (https://kiaoragaza.wordpress.com/)
Byron Bay, part of our Rainbow Region, has a proud tradition of supporting human rights and the environment and opposing militarism.
The people of Gaza deserve our help so let’s take a step in this direction by twinning Byron Bay with Gaza City.
We are both peoples of the sea who enjoy surfing but while we have to contend with sharks, Gazan fishermen and surfers have to dodge Israeli bullets and shells.
Gareth W R Smith, Palestine Liberation Centre, Byron Bay