Activist ready for Gaza at moment’s notice

Kevin Neish awaiting word in Mediterranean

Kevin Neish’s bags are packed, should the call come to join a flotilla of 10 activist ships heading for Gaza.

“We’re told to be ready at a moment’s notice” the Victoria man said from his hotel in the Mediterranean.

It could be several days before the Canadian ship, called the Tahrir, departs with 32 Canadians and several news organizations including a CBC television crew. While a French ship departed Wednesday, other ships have experienced delays, which activists speculate are politically driven.

Despite passing a safety inspection a long time ago, the Tahrir was subject to another inspection by the Greek Port Authority, according to United Press International.

The Gaza flotilla aims to break Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza, in order to deliver aid to the Palestinian people. The Israel Defense Forces have pledged to stop the flotilla, calling it a provocation and an effort to delegitimize Israel, according to Haaretz.com, an English-language Israeli online news organization.

On Wednesday morning, Neish completed training in non-violent resistance. That means sitting or standing in the way of the Israeli soldiers, he explained.

“You can’t have anything in your hands that could be misconstrued as a weapon,” he said. “My plan is to be along the railing when the Israelis first step off the zodiacs.”

Neish was on board the lead ship in last year’s Gaza flotilla and documented much of the violence, which resulted in the death of nine people including one journalist.

“I’m feeling very happy that I’m not alone,” he said, adding last time he was the only resident Canadian participating.

rholmen@vicnews.com