Maori TV journalists will run Israel naval blockade
Two Māori TV staff are aboard the “Freedom Flotilla III” currently steaming to break an Israel-controlled naval blockade.
The flotilla set sail from Messina, Italy this week on a humanitarian mission to take an undisclosed tranche of supplies through the Israel Defence Force (IDF) blockade to the Palestinian territory in Gaza.
Journalist Ruwani Perera and camera operator Jacob Bryant, facilitated by Kia Ora Gaza Trust, are on the Swedish former trawler Marianne av Göteborg, which will meet up with other boats shortly.
Māori TV often sends its journalists to cover indigenous communities overseas.
Alongside the two New Zealand journalists will be former Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki and Arab-Israeli politician Basel Ghattas. A number of other pro-Palenstinian activists are also aboard the flotilla.
Some 70 people are expected to be part of the flotilla, according to a statement from the Platform of French NGOs for Palestine, an advocacy group supporting the effort.
The Israeli blockade has been in place since 2007 and was considered legal according to the Palmer Report conducted by the United Nations in 2011.
That report was commissioned after a previous flotilla of activists attempted to break the blockade in 2010. In that incident, ten people were killed by the IDF after fighting broke out during the inspection phase of the IDF’s interception of the flotilla.
The 2010 event became an international scandal leading to a deterioration of relations between Israel and Turkey and attracting criticism of the IDF’s handling of the incident.
The current flotilla is the first such mission since the 2010 flotilla.