A Palestinian flag flutters as activists ride a boat during a rally ahead of the 4th anniversary of the Mavi Marmara Gaza flotilla incident, at the seaport of Gaza City May 29, 2014.
(photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMMED SALEM)
A group of activists in Gaza are seeking to set sail Tuesday, July 9, to “break the siege” of Gaza, they claimed on Monday.
The activists timed their sailing to take place after months of the Great Return March failing to make much of an impact and led to numerous wounds as Hamas sought to break through the security fence around the Gaza Strip.
At a press conference Monday, the National Organizing Committee of the Great Return March claimed that a group of small boats with patients and wounded would seek to leave Gaza en route to Cyprus.
According to The New Arab, Salah Abdul Atti, an organizer, called on the UN to protect the group of boats. A similar attempt was made in late May and intercepted by Israel’s navy.
Bassam Manasra, a spokesman for the National Committee for Breaking the Siege, told Anadolu, a Turkish news outlet, that “the flotilla will set out at 11 a.m. carrying sick and injured Palestinians who have been unable to travel abroad.”
At the same time a “Freedom Flotilla Coalition” is seeking to sail another ship, the Al-Awda, to Gaza, which has traveled thousands of miles from Scandinavian ports and was near Corsica on July 8.
In May 2010, a large Gaza flotilla of six ships was intercepted and nine activists killed in clashes. In 2011, a new flotilla stalled after one of the ships mysteriously suffered mechanical problems in Greece. Since then the phenomenon of flotillas has been on hiatus.
Israel maintains a maritime security cordon around Gaza in which Palestinian fishermen are allowed to fish within nine nautical miles of the coast.
Outside of the area, vessels are intercepted by the navy. It is rare that Palestinians have sought to breach this area, which they see as a blockade, and sail out of Gaza.