Open Letter to Margot Wallström

Press release Created 24/6 2015 at 12:48
Picture: Pablo Miranzo

June 24, 2015
To Margot Wallström, foreign Minister of Sweden

Dear Ms Foreign Minister,

We in Ship to Gaza Sweden are right now, together with human rights activists from many countries in our coalition Freedom Flotilla, on our way to Gaza, the small Palestinian enclave between Israel and Egypt. As you might know we purchased a trawler in Sweden earlier this year, and baptized it Marianne av Göteborg. When we have arrived in Gaza we plan to donate the boat to the Palestinian fishermen who are constantly harassed and shot at by Israeli and Egyptian soldiers, and who are forbidden to fish more than six naval miles from the shore.

As you most certainly know this is not the first time we make an effort to break and contribute to lift the inhuman and illegal blockade. Our persistence is an expression of our conviction that the blockade not only blocks vital movements of people and goods, but it also hinders a just and sustainable development towards peace in the region.

We in Ship to Gaza was proud when the Prime Minister of Sweden declared that our country recognize the state of Palestine. It was a declaration that also raised our expectations. Palestinians and activists in the global civil society have had many reasons to be discouraged when the international community´s rhetoric’s of human rights and international law have been tested against the military power of occupation and blockade. The recognition of Palestine by Your, our government raises the hope that the abyss between word and action can be bridged.

Consequently, according to the Government of Sweden, we on-board Marianne av Göteborg are on our way to Palestine when we are sailing towards Gaza. Those responsible for the Israeli politics of occupation and blockade think differently. They speak in a tense tone and utter threats in an aggressive voice. Bearing in mind what has happened in the past, and what happens on almost daily basis in the occupied Palestinian territories, there are causes to fear excessive violence and human sacrifice.

We who sail on-board Marianne av Göteborg, Ship to Gaza and the Freedom Flotilla want peace. We practice non-violence and believe in human rights for all people. We hope and believe that our Government that had the courage to recognise Palestine also is prepared to take the consequences of that recognition, that is: to stand up for and defend its citizens who try to convert the words of recognition into action and reality.

For the crew and delegates on-board Marianne av Göteborg and for Ship to Gaza Sweden
Mikael M Karlsson, chairman