Despite the fact that the list of ships taking part in the latest Gaza-bound flotilla has dwindled, and the few remaining are experiencing delays, Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Sunday recognized that the situation is not over, saying, "We obviously still need to prepare for the possibility that flotillas
In an official statement released by Barak's office, the defense minister said, "We are seeing positive developments regarding the flotilla. The
governments of Greece, Cyprus, and Turkey are active in thwarting it.
This is a result of extensive work by the Foreign Ministry and prime minister."
The Greek government, along with the Cypriots, the Turks and other countries, are working to thwart [the plan]
[It is the] result of comprehensive action on the part of the Foreign Ministry, the PMO, [the defense ministry] and other players
That are using the contacts we have with the Cypriots as well as the Greeks and other Europeans in an effort to calm the matter
And i think that's a positive development.
i think that what will make a difference is the fact that it's clear to everyone that Gaza, at the end of the day, is open for all humanitarian needs
And it's clear to everyone that the flotilla is a provocation that Hamas is trying to exploit
We heard about support from [Hamas leader Khaled] Mashaal
And they're having more delays now
And i think that as a result, there's a chance that the sting, or weight, of this flotilla will be diminished
But of course we have to prepare for the possibility that there will still be ships that arrive
According to Barak, the "influencing factor" in successful efforts to prevent the flotilla has been "that it is
clear to everyone that Gaza, ultimately, is open to all civilian
Earlier Sunday, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told Army Radio that flotilla activists are trying to put the blame on someone else for their
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Commenting on the flotilla organizers' claims that
Israel deliberately tried to sabotage the ships, Lieberman said the
activists are attempting "to avoid responsibility for the failure of
their propaganda, and their inability to get support from the world and
Greece issued a
blanket ban forbidding ships from sailing to Gaza, and despite technical
problems experienced by several ships, some activists are still
determined to set sail. Adam Shapiro, an American co-founder of the
International Solidarity Movement, and one of the organizers of the
flotilla, told The Jerusalem Post
on Saturday night that the group still planned to sail to the Gaza Strip in the coming days
He said that the Greek-Swedish
, which was allegedly sabotaged
last week, was expected to be
repaired by Sunday morning and that an Irish ship, also allegedly sabotaged in
Turkey, was set to begin repairs soon.
“We are still arranging to go and
are working on different fronts to get permission to leave,” Shapiro said by
phone from Athens.
He also denied reports that organizers were
considering canceling the flotilla since they had already achieved their goal by
raising awareness regarding the sea blockade on the Gaza Strip.
still blockaded and there is still a need to sail there,” he said.Yaakov Katz, Herb Keinon and Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.