Canadian boat Tahrir flotilla_311.
(photo credit: Reuters)
The navy is monitoring two vessels carrying foreign pro-Palestinian activists
that recently left Turkey en route to Gaza.
The two-boat flotilla,
arranged by Irish and Canadian pro-Palestinian organizations, consists of one
20-meter vessel, Al-Tahrir (freedom), and a small yacht, carrying 20 to 30
people from several countries, including an Arab Israeli, and a number of
journalists, a defense official said.
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The activists told Turkish
authorities they are sailing towards the Greek island of Rhodes.
don’t believe they are seeking violence. But the IDF is ready. The navy
is following developments. We won’t allow them to enter,” the source
said. “We’re not aware of any IHH presence,” he added, referring to the radical
Turkish group that arranged the 2010 flotilla to Gaza that ended in a deadly
clash between activists and Israel Navy commandos.
The vessels will be
allowed to dock in Ashdod, the source added.
Israel’s naval closure is a
fully legal measure to prevent the smuggling of arms to terrorist organizations
in the Gaza Strip, and has been endorsed by the UN Palmer Report, the official
The vessels are expected to approach the Israeli-Gazan area on
Thursday night or Friday morning, but could hit rough seas, according to weather
Activists said the boats were carrying “symbolic cargo,”
consisting of $30,000 in medicines as well as activists “committed to nonviolent
defense of the flotilla and Palestinian human rights.”
official said, though, that those on the boat were “provocateurs” who were not
really concerned with the Palestinians in Gaza.
“If they were they would
speak out against the brutal Taliban-style regime in Gaza, which oppresses all