Flotilla passengers demand belongings

Bulgarian PM calls Netanyahu about the matter.

By
June 17, 2010 03:01
2 minute read.
Marmara passengers prepare for IDF raid

mavi marmara passengers 311. (photo credit: IDF Spokesperson)

Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Boyko Borisov phoned Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu earlier this week to ask when Israel was going to return the personal belongings of a number of Bulgarian nationals who sailed on the Gaza flotilla and whose belongings were confiscated by the IDF, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

The Bulgarian leader’s call came as the issue of cameras, personal computers and other items confiscated by Israel during the raid on the Mavi Marmara was quietly becoming something of a diplomatic issue.

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The matter came up during a meeting Foreign Ministry Director-General Yossi Gal held Wednesday with the corps of ambassadors stationed here.

Gal, who discussed the nature of the flotilla on its way from Lebanon and the Gaza blockade, was asked by one of the ambassadors when and how Israel would return the confiscated personal items, and if not, whether Jerusalem would pay compensation.

Gal replied that the issue was currently being examined.

Gal asked of the ambassadors that their countries issue travel warnings advising their nationals not to join efforts to break the sea blockade of Gaza. He said that according to Israeli information, boats originating in countries hostile to Israel – Iran and Lebanon – are expected to arrive soon, and that those who do not want to be placed in a dangerous situation should not board the ships.

Even if some of those on board will have “good intentions,” he said, it is not clear that all on these ships are so well-intentioned.

The Prime Minister’s Office, meanwhile, released information Wednesday on the identities of those behind the two boats expected to arrive from Lebanon, linking the organizers to Hizbullah.

The organizer of a boat full of women, according to the information, is Samar Alhaj, the wife of an officer in the Lebanese security service who was jailed for four years for involvement in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Alhaj and her husband met with Hizbullah’s Hassan Nasrallah on May 22.

Alhaj, in recent media interviews, said the passengers on her ship were Lebanese women from all different sectors whose common denominator was a hatred of Israel. She denied that Hizbullah organized the ship, but said the idea came after Hizbullah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah called for the Lebanese to organize boats to Gaza.

Of the 50 women on the boat, 30 – according to Israeli information – are Lebanese, and 20 are from elsewhere.

All that is known at this point is that three are from Kuwait.


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