Despite warnings by Israeli officials, Estelle, a ship sailing under the Finnish flag, is determined to break Israel''s sea blockade and reach Gaza.


The ship carrying 700 footballs, cement and hospital equipment is currently somewhere near Crete and is expected to reach Gaza within one week.


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Helsingin Sanomat, the largest Finnish daily interviewed Wellu Koivisto, the Finnish bos''n of the Gaza-bound ship.


“We are acutely aware of the threats Israel had made against us. The Finnish Maritime Agency called us yesterday and told us about Israel’s warning. The Finnish foreign ministry and the transportation authorities’ informed us that they will not help us in any way.”


Koivisto was astonished that the Finnish foreign ministry is not willing to challenge the legitimacy of Israel’s Gaza embargo, but added that the crew will not engage in violence against a possible Israeli interception.


“We are not scared. If Israel stops us, we will not fight. We will try to negotiate our way to the destination, because we are a legitimate merchantman. Perhaps they will stop us or redirect us to another harbor," he added.


One organizer of the mission, Mikael Löfgren said in July that Estelle carries three messages: “We want to let the Gazans know that we care. World leaders must know that justice demands action, not just words. To the world we want to say that solidarity can beat any army."


Estelle, with a crew of 16, including two Finns, sails under a Finnish flag, but is owned by Northern Breeze, a company operated and managed by Dror Feiler, a Swedish-Israeli activist.


dennis.mitzner@gmail.com



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