Flotilla press conference 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Free Gaza Movement on Monday vowed to continue with its plans to sail a flotilla to Gaza despite repeated warnings from Israel not to do so.
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The group said in a statement that "Israel's best efforts to stop our boats at port, including pressure on governments, threats against insurance and communications companies, intimidation of human rights defenders, frivolous lawsuits and other underhanded tactics, have thus far failed. The Freedom Flotilla has set sail."
The French boat Dignity / Karama
left the port of l'ile Rousse in Corsica, France, on Saturday to meet up with at least nine other vessels sailing to Gaza to challenge Israel's blockade of the territory. The group said that "in the coming days the rest of the vessels in the flotilla, two cargo ships and seven other passenger boats, will leave from various ports to a meeting point in international waters from which the boats will sail all together towards Gaza. We will carry nearly three thousand tons of aid and hundreds of civilians from dozens of countries, including members of parliament, politicians, writers, artists, journalists and sports figures, as well as representatives of indigenous peoples and various faith groups."
The group added that some of the flotilla's vessels were facing delays
because of administrative obstacles created by the Greek government in
response to Israeli pressure.
"We call upon the Greek government not to become complicit in Israel's
illegal actions by succumbing to this pressure, and to join France in
standing unopposed to the flotilla," the group said.
The statement concluded with the assertion that "despite intimidation,
pressure, and threats of violence from the Israeli government, which is
not ashamed to boast that it will use snipers and attack dogs against
unarmed civilians, we will sail. We are part of a growing movement, led
by Palestinian civil society campaigning for their freedom, that
Israel's strong-arm tactics cannot stop. We call on our governments to
do their utmost to protect their citizens as we take to the sea, without
weapons, protection or threat of force, in defense of freedom, human
rights, and the rule of law. Gaza, we are coming."