Israeli authorities bent on barring Jewish aid ship to Gaza
NAZARETH, — Israeli authorities announced that they are determined to stop the Irene boat carrying Jewish activists from landing in the Gaza Strip in an official attempt to break the siege imposed on the Strip.
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said: “We intend to set up a wireless connection with them to know where they want to go. If they say ‘Gaza’, we will say to them that is prohibited.”
“If they insist on entering the restricted area, which is 20 nautical miles (off the Strip) they will be stopped and taken to the Ashdod port,” he added.
In turn the boat will be permitted to go to the El-Arish or Ashdod ports if they so wish, Palmor went on to explain.
Seven members of the Jewish Supporters of Peace from Europe and the United States set sail on Sunday from Famagusta, Cyprus on board a small skiff named Irene bound for Gaza. It is expected to arrive off the coast of Gaza Tuesday morning.
The operation cost more than 23,500 Euros funded by contributions from the European Jews for Just Peace organization. The sailboat is set to deliver toys, books, fishing equipment, and medicine.
The International Palestinian Campaign to Break the Siege along with a web of NGOs said they will stage Wednesday morning in the fisherman’s port in Gaza a demonstration to welcome the humanitarian aid ship operated by Jews.
Israeli radio reported that an Israeli military source claimed the activists’ lives will be in danger if they happen to land in Gaza.
Palestinian institutions denounced the Israeli threats to stop the boat, while calling on the international community to back the boat with all available means to ensure its arrival at the Gaza Strip.
The mission comes as a confirmation of a “continued peaceful, civilian ship uprising to break the siege”, said the Popular Committee Against the Siege, the Gaza Program for Mental Health, and the Palestinian Reef Federation in a joint statement on Monday.