Israeli navy pledges to stop Gaza-bound ship

Israeli navy pledges to stop Gaza-bound ship

Israeli navy pledges to stop Gaza-bound ship

The ship called ‘the Estelle’ is expected to reach Gaza within two weeks time. AA photo

The Israeli Navy is preparing to intercept the latest Gaza-bound ship carrying European pro-Palestinian activists who are expected to reach Gaza in two weeks time.

An Israeli military source confirmed that the navy had carried out general preparations for future ships filled with activists. The Estelle, sailing under a Swedish flag, set sail in June and has stopped at numerous European ports trying to drum up support and publicity.

Israel will not allow the vessel to reach Gaza, an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said on Oct. 2, Israeli newspaper The Jerusalem Post reported yesterday. Her remarks came after the organizers of the flotilla announced they had received clearance in La Spezia, Italy, to set sail and were expected to reach Gaza within two weeks.

“This is the same old, same old … The organizers know that they are not going to be allowed to reach Gaza, and are just trying to make noise,” Ilana Stein said of the Estelle, adding that Israel was not overly concerned about the matter.

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.
Mattias Gardell, a spokesperson for the group set to fill the Estelle, said: “It will send a message of non-violence. If they have a choice, we hope the Israel won’t do anything when we come toward Gaza.”