The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) met on March 18 to investigate the human rights situation in Palestine and issued a report that focused on the impact of the occupation on the environment and natural resources, the ongoing use of excessive force by Israeli security forces against demonstrators in Gaza, and the near-humanitarian catastrophe in the territory caused by the blockade.
Palestinians injured by Israeli army gunfire during recent peaceful protests sought to break Israel’s illegal maritime blockade of the territory by sailing out to sea on May 30.
The Australian captain of a women-crewed boat, which tried to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza last month, firmly believes the mission was worthwhile.
“The Women’s Boat to Gaza managed to reignite the spotlight on Gaza and on the terrible conditions that the Gazan people suffer”, Madeline Habib told Green Left Weekly.
A flotilla bound for Gaza carrying food, medicine and other humanitarian aid was intercepted and seized by the Israeli Navy on October 5. The Women’s Boat to Gaza had set sail from the Spanish port city of Barcelona in mid-September in an effort to break the ongoing Israeli blockade of Gaza, Democracy Now! said on October 12.
The ongoing siege of Gaza by the Israeli government looked set for a worrying escalation following a visit to Gaza by the emir of Qatar. Just three days earlier, Israel's navy had boarded a Gaza aid ship and used tasers on activists. Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani entered Gaza via Egypt's Rafah border crossing on October 23. Israeli leaders condemned al-Thani's visit, the first by a foreign head of state since 1999. Al-Thani promised $400 million in aid projects to Gaza, undermining Israel's economic blockade.