Two civilian boats carrying 27 people are currently in international waters making their way to the beleaguered Gaza Strip in an attempt to challenge Israel's ongoing blockade of the Palestinian territory.
Passengers aboard the Canadian Tahrir (Liberation), and the Irish Saoirse (Freedom) say the message they carry is one of unity, defiance and hope in spite of Israel's policies that have separated Palestinians from each other.
Organizers of the initiative, known as "Freedom Waves to Gaza," say they chose not to publicize the boats' departures in advance because of Israeli efforts to block and sabotage a flotilla that attempted to depart for Gaza from Athens, Greece, last July.
The two boats, which set sail from Fethiye, Turkey, on Wednesday, are expected to arrive in Gaza on Friday afternoon, sailing from international waters straight into Gaza's territorial waters. The vessels are carrying a symbolic amount of humanitarian aid -- $30,000 in medicines -- along with a diverse group of passengers, all committed to nonviolent defense of the flotilla and Palestinian human rights.