GAZA (AA) - August 5, 2012 - The Chairman of the Gaza Islamic Society, Abdulrahim Shebab on Sunday said that the Mavi Marmara Monument was included in the official visit program of the Gazan administration.
Speaking to the Anadolu Agency (AA) on the importance of the Mavi Marmara Monument for the region, Shebab stressed that "everything changed after Mavi Marmara".
"Following the Mavi Marmara incident, international aid organizations placed Gaza on their agenda more frequently. Many states began working for Gaza and the amount of aid coming to Gaza increased," Shebab stated.
"At the time Israeli troops raided the Mavi Marmara aid ship, Gaza was in a very difficult situation. Gaza was facing a serious embargo. We were seeking for ways to overcome the embargo. We could not treat wounds and repair our buildings. Our children had to deal with diseases. We could not travel to Egypt. We could not perform surgeries in Gaza. We could not meet the food needs of our residents. Egypt opened the Rafah Border Gate only once every three months. Such a situation caused immense difficulties for the residents of Gaza," Shebab stated.
"After the Mavi Marmara incident, the Rafah Border Gate was kept open for all urgent needs. One of the contributions of the Mavi Marmara incident was that people remembered using the sea. In the past, no one could arrive here by sea. Certain ships came to Gaza after obtaining permission. The Mavi Marmara incident helped the issue of Gaza become the number one item on the international agenda. More protests took place across the world following the Mavi Marmara incident," Shebab stressed.
"The Mavi Marmara Monument has been included in the official program of the Gazan administration. Whenever a foreign guest comes to Gaza, s/he visits the Monument before any other site. The people of Gaza are highly sensitive on the Monument and visit it often," Shebab also said.
Nine activists on the Mavi Marmara aid ship were killed by Israeli troops in a raid they conducted on May 31, 2010 in international waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Mavi Marmara was part of the "Gaza Freedom Flotilla" which included a total of six ships. Many other activists were wounded in the raid.