Gaza flotilla organizers hope IDF won't 'repeat mistakes' from 'Mavi Marmara'

Swedish vessel carrying pro-Palestinian activists is expected to reach waters off coastal enclave in the coming days.

June 28, 2015 13:57
2 minute read.
Gaza flotilla

Marianne av Göteborg arrives in Palermo, Sicily.. (photo credit: FREEDOM FLOTILLA COALITION)

The organizers of a Gaza-bound protest ship aiming to break Israel's blockade of the coastal enclave "see no reason" that the IDF would "repeat the mistakes" made in previous flotilla attempts, such as the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident.

The Swedish Marianne av Göteborg trawler is expected to reach its destination approximately on Tuesday, according to a representative from the company that owns the vessel.

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Ann Ighe, a spokeswoman for Ship to Gaza Sweden, told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that the flotilla did not expect to be met with aggression by the navy.

"We are hoping for this to be recognized as it is - a political protest against a blockade," she said from Greece, from where the ship recently embarked. The IDF has warned that it will not allow any vessel to cross Israel's naval border to reach Gaza.

The Palestinians "will see this as a message that the world hasn't forgot about them," she said. "They live in a place where the sea is like a wall, not a passage to the rest of the world."

Ighe said that since the Mavi Marmara incident in 2010, when nine Turks aboard a boat trying to break the blockade were killed as navy commandos boarding the ship to keep it from reaching Gaza met violent resistance, there have been several further attempts to breach the naval blockade and reach Gaza.

"Every time there were aggressive overtakings of the ships, we hope that won't be the case this time," she stressed.

However, she noted that the activists on-board the Marianne have taken an oath not to engage in violence by signing contracts that they will resist confrontation in a passive, non-violent manner. She added that the crew did not expect the vessel to be boarded by security forces, but that they would be prepared for the possibility.

The Marianne carries solar panels and medical supplies in its cargo hull. Joint List MK Basel Ghattas and Israeli-born Swedish activist Dror Feiler are also on-board the Gaza flotilla.
Arab MK joining third Gaza-bound flotilla talks to Jpost

According to updated coordinates on the Ship to Gaza Sweden's website on Sunday afternoon, the Marianne was off the coast of Egypt between Alexandria and Port Said.

The Israeli government has highlighted that it will not allow unauthorized boats to enter its territorial waters and that there are numerous channels to bring humanitarian aid into Gaza. Jerusalem has viewed these types of flotillas solely as a means for provocation.

Herb Keinon contributed to this report.

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