Activists aboard a flotilla to Gaza [file].
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A senior official from the Palestinian group Islamic Jihad has reportedly threatened to break the Egyptian-brokered cease-fire that ended last summer's conflict in Gaza if Israel stops any new flotillas attempting to break the naval blockade of the Strip.
According to a Channel 2 report Sunday, senior Islamic Jihad leader Khaled al-Batash said his group was closely monitoring a Swedish ship that has set sail toward the coastal Palestinian enclave.
In comments cited by Channel 2 regarding the Swedish Marianne of Gothenburg
- the first boat in the Freedom Flotilla III to leave for Gaza - al-Batas said he hoped the vessel would make the same uproar in the international arena as did the Turkish Mavi Marmara
flotilla did in 2010.
As the trawler left Sweden in May, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said Israel will not allow unauthorized boats to enter its territorial waters.
Without relating to the Marianne
, Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon said that “if the so-called helpful Gaza flotillas were really interested in the welfare of the population in Gaza, they would send their aid via Israel. The fact that they insist on a flotilla demonstrates this is an unnecessary provocation.”
According to the website of Ship to Gaza Sweden, the vessel is scheduled to stop at ports in Helsingborg, Malmo and Copenhagen, as well as other ports.
The trawler does not have room for a significant cargo but will be carrying solar panels and medical equipment, according to the organization.
It is carrying five crew members and eight passengers.Herb Keinon and JTA contributed to this report.