Report: Israel prepares to block aid convoys

Report: Israel prepares to block aid convoys

More than 700 international peace activists are
aiming at arriving to within a few days by sea to the besieged Gaza
Strip. According to the European campaign to End the Siege on Gaza
over 10,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid and building materials are
loaded on these boats. Hundred housing units are onboard and more than
500 wheelchairs for handicap children as well

According to the organizers, the key aim of this step is to ease the
humanitarian crisis and plight of Gaza population. Israel has imposed
a deadly siege for the past 4 years. Basics like food and primary
needs are strictly getting to Gaza.

The announced purpose of the siege is to topple the Government of
Hamas. However, the victims of the siege were and still the population
of Gaza. More than 510 peoples died due to shortage of medicines and
inability to travel for treatment abroad. Over 200 youths aged less
than 30 died while digging tunnels to bring food from Egypt.

Mid of the siege, end of 2008 Israel launched a full scale attack
against Gaza. The aim was to militarily bring down the Hamas
government. But, the victims again were the population of Gaza. More
than 1400 civilians were killed half of them were women and children.
5000 peoples were injured. More than 50.000 houses, schools, mosques,
hospitals and other utilities were partially or entirely damaged. No
signs that Israel will lift the siege or help to rebuild Gaza.

A number of European countries like Ireland, Sweden Greece beside
Algeria, Kuwait and Turkey are sending these cargo and passengers
boats. The cargo boats comprises of 9 sea-vehicles that mostly include
all kind of needed aid in Gaza.

Mairead Maguire,Nobel Peace Laureate is on board this time. She has
made it to Gaza a few times ago through the boats of Free Gaza
Organization. Maguire spoke about her last experience in Gaza, “The
children of Gaza are the ones who suffer most. During my visit to Gaza
in October, 2008 I went to visit the area of Khankhounis. In all my
years of visiting areas of poverty and devastation, I have never
witnessed anything so terrible. The area had been hit by floods which
had washed away the roads forming a river which flooded the houses, of
many hundreds of people, with mud. We walked through home after home
completely destroyed and yet some families made vain attempts to
salvage what they could and live in the midst of this horrific

Speaking on behalf of the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Dr
Fintan Lane (IPSC Media Officer and a ‘Freedom Flotilla’ participant)
said: “The siege of Gaza has created a humanitarian and political
crisis that cannot be ignored. We are determined to break Israel’s
blockade and will not be intimidated. The people of Gaza have a right
to access to the outside world and the right to determine their own

The Israeli government rejects radically allowing the boats into
Gaza. Israeli government claims that there is no siege on Gaza.
However, reports from UNRWA, Amnesty, Human Rights organizations and
other aid organizations confirm that Gaza is in direful crisis.

Israeli government formed a special committee from the cabinet in
plans to capture the humanitarian sea convoy. Detention centers have
been prepared on Port of Ashdod.

Israel is accusing Turkey of leading this movement as part of its
regional greediness. Alex Fishman, military commentator of “Yediot
Aharonot” who is an unofficial spokesperson for the Israeli Army, says
today that this is not really a continuation of the earlier Gaza
boats; this is a Turkish plot to open a regular shipping line to Gaza
and deprive Israel and Egypt of the monopoly of controlling access to
Gaza. If this flotilla is let through, Israel might as well give up
the siege altogether. “This is not about 500 wheelchairs to Gaza; this
is about the effective re-establishment of Turkish Imperial Power”.

Possible diplomatic confrontation between Israel and turkey might
take place as Israel announced officially its plans to storm these