Palestinian media is reporting that the Third Gaza Flotilla would be setting sail from Greece over the next few days. According to a Palestinian Information Center report:
ATHENS, (PIC)– The organizers of the third Freedom Flotilla said their Gaza-bound convoy of vessels would leave the Greek mainland in the next few days despite Israeli threats to attack it.
This came in press remarks made by Mazen Kaheel, head of the European campaign to end the siege on Gaza, following a recent meeting held by the Freedom Flotilla Coalition in the Greek capital Athens. Kaheel said that all members of the coalition stressed during the meeting the importance of their humanitarian move towards the besieged people of Gaza, who live under threat of slow death as a result of years of tight blockade.
He added that the third campaign of Freedom Flotilla would be taking place amid persistent international silence on Israel’s blockade on Gaza, which he described as one of the greatest crimes committed against humanity in modern times.
More than one hundred people from around the world, including politicians, academics, jurists, human rights activists and media figures will be taking part in the third Freedom Flotilla campaign.
In May, the GMBDW reported details on the latest Gaza flotilla that was expected to sail this summer and which was said to include three ships. At that time, the flotilla coordinator was identified as Zaher Birawi, a spokesperson for the International Committee to Break the Siege of Gaza and and a long time media and public relations spokesperson for the Palestinian Forum in Britain (PFB) , a part of the UK Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas support infrastructure. Mr. Birawi is also a director of the Palestine Return Centere (PRC) which has strong ties to Hamas and to the Global Muslim Brotherhoo and in July 2012, we reported on a meeting with Hamas leaders that included Mr. Birawi. The GMBDW reported in July 2010 that the International Committee to Break the Siege of Gaza was a Hamas front organization led by former Hamas commander and UK Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammad Sawalha.
Mazen Kahel, referred to in the above report as the head of the European Campaign To End The Siege On Gaza (ECESG), is originally from Gaza and known to have been the Treasurer of the Comité de Bienfaisance et de Secours aux Palestiniens (CBSP), the French member of the Union of Good (UOG), discussed below, and which was designated by the US in 2003 as a terrorist entity for its funding of Hamas. The last known head of the ECESG was Dr. Arafat Shoukri, former Executive Director of the now defunct Council for European Palestinian Relations (CEPR) which had been the Hamas lobby group for the European Union. Dr. Shoukri was also at one time the Executive Director of the Palestine Return Centre. The ECESG was a major sponsor of the abortive second Gaza Flotilla that was intended to aid Hamas-ruled Gaza.
To complete the web of Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood ties to the flotilla, on 14 May Zahir Birawi’s programme on the London-based, Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Al-Hiwar TV channel Palestinian Panorama was dedicated to the forthcoming flotilla. Mr. Birawi hosted Essam Yousef (aka Essam Mustafa) in the studio and spoke over the phone with several others connected to the coordination of the flotilla. Essam Youssef is the head of the UK Palestinian charity Interpal which according to a NEFA Foundation report authored by the GMBDW editor, is the most important of the charities comprising the Union of Good,, a coalition of charities headed by Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi which helps to raise funds for Hamas. The Union of Good was banned by Israel in 2002 and was designated a terrorist entity by the United States in 2008. INTERPAL itself had been designated by the US in 2003. In March 2009, we discussed the UK Charity Commission’s order that INTERPAL sever its ties with the Union of Good, likely only a formality given that Essam Youssef, the former head of the Union of Good, is still the Managing Trustee of Interpal.
The GMBDW reported in March that the former Tunisian president Moncef Marzouki will be taking part in this latest flotilla effort.
In 2011, the GMBDW Editor published a report titled “Turkey, the Global Muslim Brotherhood, and the Gaza Flotilla” which demonstrated that the Global Muslim Brotherhood, including at that time its Turkish components, was deeply involved in the planning and preparation leading up to the first Gaza flotilla that was involved in the violent altercation with Israeli naval forces. The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) published an article on the role of the Global Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas in the unsuccessful second Gaza Flotilla in 2011.
For the founding statement of this new Gaza flotilla, go here.