Protesters block the docking of an Israeli container ship at Prince Rupert.




Block the boat

An Israeli container ship was prevented from docking Monday at Prince Rupert, British Columbia, port after a picket line was constructed at an entry to the Fairview container terminal by a group of around 10 protesters whose goal is to prevent Israel from delivering goods to North America.

The Israeli shipping company ZIM’s container ship, the Volans, remained stationed in Prince Rupert’s harbor for the majority of the day Sunday. The demonstrators stated that they were acting in sympathy with the Block the Boat initiative, which tries to prevent Israel from delivering products to this continent in response to the recent war between Israel and Palestinian militants.

Protesters drew up a picket line at the terminal’s gate, which unionized longshore workers refused to cross, preventing the ship from docking. Members of the International Longshore Workers Union (ILWU) Local 505 are needed to tie down and unload ships when they arrive the terminal.

“We can’t deny that the globe is interrelated, therefore the ship that unloads here affects the lives of others on the other side of the world,” said Francis Riley, one of several people holding signs.

“And I believe it’s a difficult argument to make, but it’s a vital point to make,” Riley explained.

Protesters exited the entrance after confirming with the Prince Rupert Port Authority that the Volans would not be unloading in Prince Rupert, enabling the port to continue with other operations. They did, however, promise to return if the ship attempted to dock again.

The most recent round of combat between Israel and Hamas began last month when the militant group launched rockets toward Jerusalem following days of violence between Palestinian protestors and Israeli police. In response, Israel unleashed hundreds of airstrikes against Hamas facilities, including a large tunnel network. The bombings also obliterated health and civic infrastructure, as well as a refugee camp and a high-rise building that housed the Associated Press and other media outlets.

The 11-day warfare has already come to a halt with a ceasefire, and Israel’s new coalition government has signaled that it will likely pursue a moderate agenda aimed at reducing tensions with the Palestinians.