US warns flotilla activists not to challenge Gaza blockade

Washington says US citizens who take part in efforts to deliver material support or other resources to Hamas could face civil, criminal penalties; IDF not expecting violence, but prepared for any scenario.

By REUTERS,
November 3, 2011 22:17
2 minute read.
Canadian boat Tahrir [file]

Canadian boat Tahrir flotilla_311. (photo credit: Reuters)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

WASHINGTON - The United States warned on Thursday that a new effort by pro-Palestinian activists to send a flotilla to challenge Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip was dangerous and urged US citizens not to take part.

Activists set sail from Turkey on Wednesday aboard two yachts carrying medical supplies. The Israeli military said it would not permit them to breach its blockade.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


RELATED:
MKs: Ban UAL from Knesset for rewarding flotilla activists
US issues stern warning to Gaza flotilla activists

In May 2010, nine Turkish activists, including one with dual US-Turkish nationality, were killed in an Israeli raid on a similar convoy that nearly ruptured ties between Turkey and Israel, both critical US allies in the region.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Washington had been in touch with the Turkish government on Thursday about the flotilla, and had also spoken to Israeli officials.

"My sense of this was that, given the way this came together there was some element of surprise for both the Turkish government and our own government," Nuland said.

She said the United States had sought clarification on news reports that Turkish warships might be accompanying the flotilla and were told "quite emphatically" by Turkey that this was not the case.

JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:


"We've been clear to them that we think that would be an extremely bad idea and they've now reassured us that that is not what they are doing in this case," she said.

Nuland repeated US warnings about earlier flotilla plans, saying that US citizens who take part in efforts to deliver material support or other resources to Hamas could face civil and criminal penalties. Hamas has been officially designated as by the United States as a foreign terrorist organization.

The 27 activists on board the Canadian and Irish vessels came from Australia, Canada, Ireland and the United States, and included Palestinians and at least one Israeli Arab citizen, according to organizers. Turkey has stressed that the vessels were not Turkish-flagged, had no Turkish passengers and the captains were not Turkish.

Israel has offered to unload any aid supplies and deliver them to Gaza. Israel permits humanitarian aid, food and other supplies to enter Gaza for its 1.5 million people, many of them impoverished refugees, via land crossings it closely monitors. Gaza also has a border with Egypt over which goods are imported.

An IDF spokesman said on Thursday that the Navy is fully prepared for the arrival of the two-boat flotilla.

The IDF is not expecting violent clashes with passengers on-board the vessels, but is prepared for all scenarios.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
August 31, 2014
Prime minister to Channel 1: I’ll be running again in next election

By Gil Stern Stern HOFFMAN