Aid Boats Attempt to Break Israel's Gaza Blockade

Published: May 18th 2010
in News » Israel

Gaza Strip
Pic: wikimedia commons

Israeli diplomats told European pro-Palestinian activists to stop sailing Gaza aid boats Monday. Movements, including The Free Gaza movement, an international group, have been attempting to send humanitarian goods to the coastal strip of Gaze from countries including Ireland, Greece and Turkey, according to AP reports. 


Foreign ministry deputy director general, Naor Gilon, told separately ambassadors of those nations as well as those from Sweden that the missions are “a provocation and a breach of Israeli law.” Gilon was also reported by the AP saying in a ministry statement that “Israel has no intention of allowing the flotilla to enter Gaza.”


Since 2007, Israel has secured the Gaza strip after Hamas seized power over the region limiting entrance into the region to the citizens involved in these so-called “Freedom Flotillas.” This term has been used to describe the sailing of humanitarian goods to Gaza from The Free Gaza movement website.


The ambassadors promised Gilon that they would carry over the message that the missions will not be allowed entry into the region without following legal procedure, some ambassadors even saying they would prevent citizens from carrying out their missions.


Despite Gilon’s warnings, Turkey’s NGO Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (IHH) plans to send eight ships – what the group’s website calls the “Freedom Flotilla Coalition” scheduled to set sea on May 23rd. The eight ships are also scheduled to be sent along with 12 other ships from countries including Venezuela, Malaysia, Germany, Italy, France, Greece and the United States according to reports by the group’s chairman Bulent Yildirim.


The mission will be carried out with the motto ““Palestine is our destination, humanitarian aid is our load.”


The ships have been reported to contain construction materials, school supplies and medical equipment with the intention of rebuilding destroyed schools and homes in the area. However, the entry of construction tools like steel, glass, and other materials are illegal as they could be misused. The load of these supplies and equipment has been reported to be around 5,000 tonnes.


The ships will continue to attempt to cross however due to the naval blockade the ships are unlikely to pass through. Though historically, The Free Gaza movement have carried out many attempts in the past to send ships as an attempt to break the siege in Gaza.


Earlier on Monday, a volunteer from the IHH that was detained April 27th by the IDF for being suspected of belonging to an outlawed Islamic group was released from detention. The volunteer, Izzet Sahin, was mentioned on the site along with commentary saying how his detention was a retaliation of Israel to the IHH and its release of ships to the Gaza strip.

Related articles: (Gaza, aid ships, aid convoys, turkey, pro-palestinian, free gaza movement, Naor Gilon, foreign ministry)

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