Activists claim navy surrounds Gaza bound ship

AFP reports soldiers already on board The Estelle ship carrying pro-Palestinian activists seeking to break Israeli blockade on Gaza; CNN reports ships surround vessel; IDF yet to release statement.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
October 20, 2012 11:24
1 minute read.
Estelle Ship heading for Gaza

Estelle Ship 370. (photo credit: Screenshot)

 
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A ship carrying pro-Palestinian activists looking to break the Israeli blockade on Gaza has "come under attack" after being approached by the navy, AFP quoted a spokeswoman of the Estelle ship as saying on Saturday.

"The Estelle is now under attack -- I have just had a message from them by phone," AFP quoted Victoria Strand, a Stockholm-based spokeswoman for the Ship to Gaza Sweden campaign as saying.

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Palestinian activists told CNN Israeli ships have surrounded the vessel.

The IDF have yet to comment on the report.

The report follows the failure of diplomatic efforts to stop the ship, after Israel’s United Nations envoy Ron Prosor wrote UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon this week asking for international intervention to “stop the provocation” of a small ship sailing to Gaza.

According to one official, the letter – which said the Vikings had a better moral compass than the passengers of The Estelle, expected to arrive near Gaza in the coming days – gave a publicity boost to the ship that is challenging the IDF’s naval blockade of Gaza.

“One ship does not a flotilla make,” said one official of the ship carrying what Prosor called “weekend revolutionaries” with “radical and extremist agendas.”



Israel’s blockade policy remains intact, and the ship will be stopped, one official said.

The ship, sailing under a Finnish flag, set sail in June and has stopped at numerous European ports trying to drum up support and publicity. The vessel, carrying over a dozen passengers, took on additional food and passengers off the coast of Crete earlier this week.

Among the new passengers are five European parliamentarians: Ricardo Sixto Iglesias from Spain, Sven Britton from Sweden, Aksel Hagen from Norway, and Vangelis Diamandopoulos and Dimitris Kodelas from Greece.

Herb Keinon contributed to this report.


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