A picket line of Palestinian protesters is preparing to meet an Israeli cargo ship — which has been sitting in Elliott Bay for more than a week — once it docks in Seattle early Saturday morning, in an attempt to block the ship’s unloading following recent deadly clashes in the Middle East.
The ZIM San Diego, owned and operated by Israeli shipping company ZIM, was scheduled to dock in Seattle on June 2, according to a statement from Falastiniyat, a Palestinian feminist group based in Seattle. It has been sitting in Elliott Bay since then, although there’s nothing stopping it from docking, said Port of Seattle spokesperson Peter McGraw.
Falastiniyat teamed up with other Seattle-based organizers in response to a call from labor unions in Palestine and a call to action by the Arab Resource and Organizing Center, following last month’s escalation of violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Falastiniyat spokesperson Abby Brook said Friday afternoon.
It’s unclear what kind of cargo the ZIM San Diego is carrying. Efforts to reach the shipping company were not successful Friday.
In a statement this week, Falastiniyat said it assumed the ship was “afraid of the protesters that will greet it upon arrival.”
“ZIM was trying to wait out this week of action and let the momentum die down for this picket line,” Brook said. “But every hour, every second that the ZIM ship is delayed is costing ZIM money. And the purpose of the (Boycott, Divest and Sanction) movement is to make Israeli occupation and apartheid costly. So they’re helping us achieve that goal.”
She and other protesters are planning to meet at Bridge Gear Park on Harbor Island around 5:30 a.m. Saturday and set up their picket line at Terminal 18, where the boat is scheduled to dock.
“The goal is to maintain the picket line as long as possible,” she said.
Alia Taqqiedin, a Falastiniyat representative, said in a statement this week that the group wants “to assure Zim that no matter when it arrives, we will be ready to show up and show the world that Seattle communities will not stand for Israeli apartheid and occupation.”
The Seattle rally comes after a similar ZIM blockade — organized by the Arab Resource and Organizing Center — in Oakland, California, last week. The protest eventually ended when the ship turned away without docking, according to The Times of Israel.
McGraw with the Port of Seattle confirmed the ZIM San Diego is scheduled to dock Saturday morning and said Port officials would keep an eye on the protest over the weekend.