French ship ‘Dignity’ to reach Gaza, if not stopped

French vessel carrying 17 passengers, including French official and Israeli journalist, declared Alexandria, Egypt as destination.

July 18, 2011 15:27
1 minute read.
French flotilla boat leaving Crete

French flotilla boat leaving Crete 311 (R). (photo credit: Reuters)

The navy is preparing to stop a French ship that set sail from Greece earlier this week and might be heading to the Gaza Strip even though it declared Alexandria, Egypt, as its destination, a defense official said on Monday.

Israeli-Swedish passenger Dror Feiler said that the yacht would reach Gaza, if not stopped, by Tuesday afternoon.

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The Dignity is carrying 17 pro-Palestinian activists. It was part of the Free Gaza Movement’s flotilla that was canceled earlier this month after Greece refused to allow the ships to leave its ports for the Gaza Strip.

On Sunday, the ship left Greek waters after declaring Alexandria as its destination. According to Free Gaza, its passengers include Jacqueline Le Corre, a member of the French Communist Party, Jean-Claude Lefort, a former French Member of the European Parliament, and Haaretz correspondent Amira Hass.

While the organizers did not explicitly declare that the ship would sail to Gaza, they said that it was part of the “first wave that will be followed by others.”

“It is a message to the Israeli government, to the international community and to the besieged people of Gaza: The Free Gaza Movement and the coalition of Freedom Flotilla II are not giving up until the inhumane and illegitimate blockade of Gaza is lifted,” the movement said in a press release.

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said that Israel would stop the vessel.

“If this boat is on its way to Gaza, which is a breach of international maritime law...we will intercept it,” he said. “But I assure you that we will try our best to make all those on board very comfortable.”

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