The territory known as the Gaza Strip, or Gaza lines the Eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea, bordering Egypt to the southwest and Israel on the east and north.
In spite of the disengagement of Israeli forces nearly a decade ago, the United Nations, international human rights organizations and the majority of governments and legal commentators around the world consider the territory to be occupied.Israeli Defense forces maintains control over all airspace and territorial waters and all crossings in and out of Gaza. The situation fostered dependence on Israel for trade, water, sewage, electricity, currency communication networks, and issuing IDs and permits to enter and leave the terrirory. 
Tensions following the election of the Palestinian Islamic organization Hamas to power in Gaza provoked tensions with Israel leading to the 2008 war, and a blockade allowing only limited amounts of medical humanitarian aid through. 
Israel argues that the blockade is necessary in order to prevent Hamas, deemed a terrorist group by many Western countries, from re-arming and launching Palestinian rocket attacks. 
The restrictions on access to basic building construction materials, medical suppliesand food stuffs has depressed the economy and standard of life for Gazans, and prompted many to refer to the region as the world’s largest open air prison. 
Since 2008, a unique effort known as the Freedom Flotilla was conceived to try to break through the blockade and bring much needed assistance to the struggling Palestinian population there who urgently need it.
As Freedom Flotilla III is departing from an undisclosed location in the Mediterranean Sea to Gaza, this week’s Global Research News Hour focuses on activists abroad coming to the assistance of that region’s destitute population.
Robert Lovelace is a Continuing Adjunct Professor in the Department of Global Development Studies at Queens University and a member of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation. He is joining the Freedom Flotilla for the second time, and left Canada on June 15, 2015. Updates of his voyage can be found on his Decolonization Blog.
Richard Day is an Associate Professor of Global Development Studies at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. He is functioning as a spokesperson for his colleague, Robert Lovelace who is travelling on board one of the Freedom Flotilla Ships toward Gaza.
David Heap is a Canadian activist and a steering committee member of the Canadian Boat to Gaza contingent of the Freedom Flotilla III. He is also a past participant in the Freedom Flotilla.
Dr. Benjamin Thomson is a physician working out of Toronto. He has worked in Gaza and is one of three physicians along with Dr. Tarek Loubani, and Dr. Dalal Dahrouj championing, EmpowerGaza an initiative geared toward providing reliable, renewable solar energy for hospitals in Gaza.
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