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Updated 8:44 AM EDT, Wed, Aug 18, 2021

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Activists Block Israeli Cargo Ship From Entering US Ports

Zim Cargo Ship

(Photo : REUTERS) Container ship from Israeli shipping company Zim.

Activists in the United States favoring Palestine are attempting to block an Israeli commercial cargo ship from docking at West Coast ports.

On Saturday activists successfully delayed the cargo ship from docking at the Port of Oakland, according to the activists' Facebook event "Block the Boat for Gaza!"

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Leaflets had been handed out prior to the blockade as a call to arms, Al Jazeera reports.

"Palestine is calling us to action! Palestinian laborers [and the] Palestinian General Federation Trade Union have called on workers around the world to refuse to handle Israeli goods," the leaflets said.

The cargo ship is part of Israel's largest shipping company, Zim Integrated Shipping Services, and its cargo is likely staple Israel exports, such as dead sea salts.

Activists are also planning to stop Zim cargo ships in Tacoma on Aug. 20 and Seattle on Aug. 22, their Wordpress site notes.

In the Calls For Action section on the activists' site they explain what they demand: an arms embargo on Israel from the United States and Europe, European Union suspension of free trade and bilateral agreements to Israel, and a general boycott.

Activists are specifically targeting Zim because of its alleged supporting of Israel's occupation and subjugation of Palestinians. They accuse Zim of carrying food, supplies, and military equipment for Israel since its founding in 1945.

The activists are hoping to bring the International Longshoremen and Warehousemen Unions into the fold, citing a 2010 cooperation by the union workers who refused to unload a Zim cargo ship in response to Israel's attack that same year on the Mavi Marmara, a humanitarian flotilla that tried to send aid to Gaza.

The ILWU is not planning to participate in any protests or blockades, ILWU spokeswoman Jennifer Sargent said in a statement.

Mohamed Shehk, one of the organizers of Block the Boat, explained that, currently, their plan to blockade the cargo ship involves bringing enough people to the port. that it presents too much of a health and safety risk to the port workers for them to work.

Plans are also underway to blockade Zim in Canada, Al Jazeera notes.

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