At the end of June, Paul Murphy MEP will attempt to sail to Gaza as part of the “Freedom Flotilla II” to bring humanitarian aid. socialistparty.net spoke to Paul about the trip.
What is the purpose of the Freedom Flotilla?
The purpose of the flotilla is to break the blockade of Gaza which is imposed by the Israeli state. The situation there is really desperate, akin to a densely packed open-air prison camp with over 40% unemployment and massive poverty. We aim to bring necessary humanitarian aid, such as medicine, to the people.
Why did you decide to join the Flotilla?
I think much of the world watched in horror last year when the Mavi Marmara boat was boarded and nine activists were killed and dozens were injured. When I heard that the Flotilla was sailing again and that they were looking for public representatives to travel, I felt it would be a very good opportunity to express my solidarity with the Palestinian people as well as hopefully give some level of protection to the other activists on the ship.
What will happen when you get to Gaza?
It’s not clear what will happen. Unfortunately, I think it’s most likely that the Israeli state will once again try to prevent the ships getting to Gaza with the same brutal tactics that they used last time. However, I hope that we will be able to land in Gaza, deliver the aid and meet with civil society representatives and activists.
How do you think the Flotilla can contribute to building lasting peace in the Middle East?
The Flotilla can bring the world’s attention to what is happening in Gaza and give confidence to the Palestinian people that they have friends and supporters around the world. The revolutions against corrupt dictatorships across the Arab world demonstrate the major movements that can develop and these movements have had a real impact in both the Occupied Territories and in Israel. What needs to be built in my opinion is a mass revolutionary movement encompassing the Palestinian masses, the Israeli working class together with the risen masses of the Arab world. Such a movement could complete the overthrow of the corrupt elites in the Arab world as well as kick out the right-wing Israeli establishment and fight to create a socialist Palestine alongside a socialist Israel as part of a socialist confederation of the Middle East.