The Canadian boat, Tahrir, which was bordered by Israel enroute to Gaza in 2011, recently won a case recouping around half of the $300 000 dollars raised for the mission. The boat had over $30 000 dollars of medical equipment on board, and was illegally bordered in international waters, with little condemnation from global powers, including the United States, Russia and China.
This followed the 2017 victory of a Swedish vessel, which sued Israel for refusing to inform the Israeli Maritime Authority, and Sweden, prior to its seizure in 2012, forcing Tel Aviv to settle out of court. Tahrir hired the same lawyers, which used the case as a precedent, to ensure that Tel Aviv was held accountable for its act of piracy.
Funds recouped will be used to continue highlighting Israel’s continued abuses of human rights.
Meanwhile, Gaza has been under constant blockade for close to 5000 days, with very limited access to essential goods, including certain food products, building material, and medical equipment.
It is noteworthy that the medical supplies onboard the Tahrir were stolen and did not make their way to Gaza despite Israeli assurances.
Speaking to Radio Islam International, David Heap, a linguistics professor who was on the boat, spoke of the harrowing seizure, which saw him tasered for protecting the wheel house. He reiterated that that this was nothing compared to the treatment meted out to Palestinians and Gazans. “Well, of course people with Canadian passports, for example, are treated much better than Palestinians are treated. We face a very small fraction of the violence of the occupation that Palestinians face day in, day out; year in, year out; decade in, decade out; due to the impunity that the government [of Israel] has [been allowed] by the other governments, but it was no picnic, I mean, and it wasn’t as violent as the attack that [took place] the preceding year against the Turkish ship, the ‘Mavi Marmara’, and the other boats in the first flotilla.”
Professor Heap argued that it was the blockade on Gaza and the 2010 Israeli storming of the Mavi Marmara which encouraged the crew to set sail initially in 2010. But, after being blocked by the Greek coastguard, which Heap labelled as the outsourcing of the occupation, the Canadian vessel set off the following year from Turkey. Significantly, it was Canadian complicity, especially the then Harper government’s support for Israel, which inspired Canadians of conscience.