Two Derry men who are currently on board an aid ship attempting to bring supplies to Palestinians have said they are determined to try to get to Gaza.
Sinn Féin councillor Gerry MacLochlainn and Charlie McMenamin, both members of the Derry Friends of Palestine group, are on board the MV Saoirse which is part of the ‘freedom flotilla’ of aid ships trying to get through the Israeli blockade.
A previous aid flotilla was attacked by Israeli commandos in May 2010 and nine people were shot dead. The Derry men are among 20 Irish people on board the ship which is preparing to joining other vessels in the flotilla.
Speaking from the ship, which is currently in the Mediterranean, the pair said; “The first few days have been taken up with preparations, training and safety issues and most have also used this time to psych themselves up for the time ahead, assuming flagrant abuses by the Israelıs but hoping for common sense to prevail. We are no threat to anyone, just concerned citizens of this world asking our governments to help the Palestinian people obtain human rights which they are denied on a daily basis,” the said.
Colr. MacLochlainn and Mr McMenamin also said; “Our main aim ıs to bring world attention to the fact that the Gaza strıp ıs illegally blockaded from the rest of the world.
The pair said they do not know what will happen in the coming days and added that they may be attacked by the Israeli army.
“When Derry people are readıng this we will be somewhere in the middle of the meditereanian joining other boats coming on the flotilla. We may even have been attacked and kidnapped by the Israelıs - or worse - but thats a rısk we are prepared to take. Its a small gesture on our part consıderıng the sufferıng the Palestinian people endure almost every day,” the Derry men said.