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Freedom Flotilla Coalition brings aid to Gaza to 'break the siege'

Flotilla is backed by Turkish activist arrested by the IDF during 2010 'Mavi Marmara' incident

Turkish cruise ship Mavi Marmara, carrying pro-Palestinian activists and humanitarian aid to Gaza, leaves from Sarayburnu port in Istanbul May 22, 2010. (Photo: REUTERS/Emrah Dalkaya)

A group of NGOs called the “Freedom Flotilla Coalition” is planning to set sail to Gaza with 5,500 tons of humanitarian aid, intending to begin the journey this Monday. The Freedom Flotilla Coalition is backed by Turkish activist Fehmi Bulent Yildirim, the president of the IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation.

The group includes NGOs from “the US, Turkey, and South Africa,” and will include ships from “Turkey, Lebanon, and Libya,” according to a Jerusalem Post report.

Among several notable figures expected to join the flotilla are Aleida Guevara, the daughter of the late Communist revolutionary Che Guevara, and Zwelivelile Mandela, the grandson of Nelson Mandela.

Nelson Mandela was the first South African president best known for his successful opposition to South Africa’s state-enforced racial segregation. Like Guevara, Mandela was a socialist revolutionary and for a time was active in Communist circles.

In 2010, Yildirim was arrested and subsequently deported by Israel Defense Forces due to his involvement in leading a similar flotilla sent to Gaza, which was also organized in part by IHH. One of the ships in the 2010 flotilla, the Mavi Marmara, was raided by Israeli special forces. This IDF operation led to the deaths of 10 civilians on board and caused a significant rift in Israel’s relationship with Turkey.

Despite being a humanitarian aid organization, the IHH has reportedly been accused of “links to al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.”

The Freedom Flotilla Coalition says on its website that its “direct action missions support the dignity and humanity of Palestinians, working with civil society partners, rather than any party, faction or government. Our actions against the blockade are always governed by the principles of non-violence and non-violent resistance.”

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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