Gaza’s Ark

One of the positive projects that’s happening in Gaza, which started in Canada, is the Gaza Ark.  It’s being organised by the same folks who tried to break the Israeli sea blockade of Gaza in 2011 with the ship the Tahrir, the Canadian Boat to Gaza.  The Tahrir was boarded by the Israeli military, while in international waters, and hijacked to Ashdod, along with it’s crew and passengers, who were then jailed and deported. Their crime?  Entering Israel illegally!  It boggles the mind, but considering the numerous other crimes Israel has perpetrated against the Palestinians, this is just one more minor outrage.

The Tahrir was just one of numerous ships that have unsuccessfully attempted to break the Israeli blockade by sailing into Gaza City.  The Canada Boat to Gaza group decided to try a different tact, and try to sail a ship from Gaza City to Europe.  The ship has been purchased and is now being rebuilt by Palestinian workers in Gaza City port.  Once it is ready, it will  be loaded with Palestinian export products, and sailed out of Gaza by a crew of Palestinians and Internationalists.

One of the Gazan trade goods that will be on board will be beautiful embroidery, crafted by the Jabalia Women’s Cooperative.  I stopped by their office to document their handicrafts.

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20 women, all from refugee families, make up the Jabalia Women’s Cooperative, carrying on the ancient tradition of Palestinian embroidery.  Fayrouz Abu Zaiter, on the right, is their leader.

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A classic Palestinian “toup”.  Each design is specific to a village or family.

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Now they are adapting their skills to produce other beautiful and useful products.

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And here the youngest member of the cooperative, 21 year old Samer Abu Zaiter, models a scarf, which would have involved 5 or more women, working on it for several days.

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And here are some of the 250 bracelets I will be bringing back to Canada, to be sold to fund raise for the Gaza Ark project.

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And here’s the Gaza Ark.  With the Israeli blockade of Gaza, it’s not going to be easy or inexpensive for Palestinian workers to rebuild her and break this illegal and inhumane blockade.

Bye for now from Gaza City.

Kevin

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