New flotilla sets off for Gaza
In this May 31, 2010 file photo, the Mavi Marmara ship, the lead boat of a flotilla headed to the Gaza Strip which was stormed by Israeli naval commandos in a predawn confrontation, sails into the port of Ashdod, Israel. AP Photo
Scandinavian activist groups have joined forces to draw attention to the Israeli blockade of Gaza by launching another flotilla toward the strip, daily Hürriyet reported today.
Norwegian and Swedish activists boarded the SV Estelle in Oslo yesterday and are now on their way to the blockaded Palestinian territory, according to reports.
Flotilla leader Torstein Dahle said they aimed to draw international awareness to the situation in Gaza in a fashion similar to the impact caused by the 2010 journey of the Turkish Mavi Marmara.
"We have the same goal as the previous flotillas. We wish to end the blockade by challenging the Israeli Navy," Dahle said.
"It will be easier for the Israelis to stop us," Dahle added. "We're fewer in numbers and against violence."
Turkish-Israeli ties hit their lowest point ever after Israeli forces killed nine Turkish activists on board the Mavi Marmara on May 31, 2010. Bilateral relations have yet to improve due to Israel’s refusal to issue a formal apology for the killings – a prerequisite to the restoration of normal ties, according to Turkey.