LEBANON: Lebanese Women Sending Aid Ship to Gaza

Tuesday, June 15, 2010
AFP/NOW! Lebanon
Western Asia
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Human Rights

An aid ship transporting medical supplies to Gaza will leave Lebanon in the coming days with dozens of women activists on board, one of the organizers told AFP on Tuesday.

"We are all independent women who believe in breaking the siege on Gaza and are committed to the enmity of the Zionist entity," said Samar Hajj, who is coordinating the trip.

She stressed the women were not affiliated with Hezbollah or any other political organization.

"This has nothing to do with Hezbollah even though it is an honor for us to be supporters of the resistance," said Hajj, whose husband Ali Hajj was one of four generals detained for nearly four years in connection with the 2005 car bombing that killed former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Ali Hajj, who was domestic security chief, was released from prison in April last year after a UN-backed tribunal said there was insufficient evidence against the generals.

Hajj's wife said so far 50 women -- Muslim, Christian and secular -- had signed up for the trip on board the cargo ship "Mariam." Among them are 30 Lebanese and 20 foreigners, including several European nationals.

She said all the logistics for the trip had been handled by the Free Palestine Movement, a non-governmental organization.

"We are going there because it is our duty," she said.

"The ship will be leaving very soon," she added, without giving an exact date.

Preparations are also underway by other activists to send an aid ship carrying educational supplies and journalists from Lebanon to Gaza.

The planned trips come following Israel's raid last month on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla which left nine pro-Palestinian activists dead and sparked international outrage.