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INTERNATIONAL > Flotilla destined to break Gaza embargo

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Hamas naval police ride boats to welcome an aid ship destined for Gaza in this 2010 photo.

Hamas naval police ride boats to welcome an aid ship destined for Gaza in this 2010 photo.

Scandinavian activist groups are launching an aid ship destined for Gaza, hoping to challenge the Israeli blockade and draw international attention to the conflict in a move reminiscent of the 2010 “Freedom Flotilla,” organizers said.

“We have the same goal as the previous flotillas, to put an end to the blockade of Gaza by challenging the Israeli navy,” said Torstein Dahle, the leader of the Norwegian section of the activist group “Ship to Gaza.” “This time around it will be an easy task for the Israelis to stop us because we will be so few and strictly non-violent,” Dahle told Reuters at Oslo harbor.

The SV Estelle, a 53-meter vessel backed mainly by Swedish and Norwegian groups, was set to sail from Oslo on Aug. 7, and organizers hope several other ships will join it during its journey before it reaches waters off Gaza in October.

In May 2010, several aid ships trying to run Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip were halted by Israeli naval commandos, who killed nine pro-Palestinian Turks aboard Mavi Marmara, one of the vessels. A second convoy, planned a year later, did not sail after the organizers said they had been sabotaged.

In November 2011, the Israeli navy boarded two yachts in international waters, one Canadian and one Irish, carrying pro-Palestinian activists and medical supplies and heading for Gaza to challenge the Israeli blockade. Israel says it blockades seaborne approaches to the Gaza Strip to prevent arms smuggling to the Palestinians.

Gaza increasingly cut off from territories: Fayyad

In the meantime, Gaza is becoming more and more cut off from the rest of the Palestinian territories as hopes of sealing a Fatah-Hamas unity deal fade, Palestinian premier Salam Fayyad has warned.

“With each day that passes without practical steps towards achieving reconciliation, Gaza is starting to become a distinct entity,” he told Agence France-Presse late on Aug. 6.

Hopes of achieving a Palestinian state were also fading as it was not possible to have an independent state in the West Bank alone, he said. “There is no Palestinian state without Gaza,” he admitted. In April 2011, the ruling Fatah party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas signed a reconciliation deal with its Hamas rivals, but the deal was never implemented.

August/09/2012

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ealsho@eartlink.net tango73

8/10/2012 4:24:01 PM

How about Flotilla for Syria

Johanna Dew

8/9/2012 1:48:02 PM

I had a look at the names of people on these Norwegian and Swedish ships and I found the representatives of Hamas in Scandinavia, Syrian Muslim Brotherhood members (nothing better to do?) and other immigrants from the Middle East with double passports. Not very representative for Norway and Sweden but very deceitful propaganda. And Gaza has even a 5 star hotel and luxuriates malls!

stella maris

8/9/2012 11:27:16 AM

@ Red Tail They would be jailed for years there for public disturbation and they know that. Only Israel is stupid enough to still behave with courtency and decency ( if NOT attacked like on Mavi!), as they have showed several times on this occasions!

Rimon Tree

8/9/2012 10:43:27 AM

@ Tekion There is no need of humanitarian aids in Gaza. Israel every day sends lots of material. Have you ever seen a picture of the luxury shopping malls in Gaza city? The problem is Hamas itself, they are corrupt and keep the millions of European and UN money for themselves, cheating on their own people. Israel cannot afford Hamas getting weapons to destroy her (which they claim!). Why do you think Egypt has closed the borders under Mubarak and is doing the very same now again? Two blockades?

Red Tail

8/9/2012 7:56:52 AM

Why dont they go to Egypt this timek?

rich bind

8/9/2012 5:08:51 AM

There is an old saying "if you tell a lie often enough, people will believe it." Israel lifted its blockcade of civilian good to Gaza, two years ago. It is well known that market shelves are full and Gaza boasts luxury cars and even swimming pools. Fuel is in short supply because Hamas will not pay for Israil fuel and imports it from egypt. One thing not in short supply is rockets and arms.

ealsho@eartlink.net tango73

8/9/2012 3:39:08 AM

Egypt closed Rafah and all underground terrorist tunnels to prevent arms smuggling by the Palestinians. Swedish and Norwegian got their own problem with muslim immigrants. Hamas has a good friend, Erdogan

Tekion Particle

8/9/2012 3:04:20 AM

@Aryeh, how is bringing in much needed humanitarian aid to innocent sufferers threatens the security of Israel and judged to aid terrorists?

Aryeh Rapaport

8/9/2012 1:21:55 AM

They should not try to break blockade. Its clear to every decent human being why there is a blockade, what will happen if blockade is lifted or broken. Israel cannot allow the free flow of materials to Gaza. Hamas openly declares it will harm Israel in any way or form not to mention their internationally recognized terrorists.
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