(photo credit: Associated Press)
The aim of the Libyan backed aid ship the Amalthea remains to sail directly to Gaza, Youssef Sawani, executive director of Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation, which has mounted the operation, said Sunday in an interview with Army Radio.
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In response to these comments Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told Army Radio on Sunday that "no ship of any kind will be allowed to arrive at Gaza."
"I hope that common sense will prevail," said Lieberman. "They can deliver aid for Gaza to [Egyptian port] El-Arish or Ashdod."
The foreign minister added that Israel was not looking for a confrontation but that no one would be allowed to undermine the country's sovereignty.
MK Ahmed Tibi (Ta'al) echoed Sawani's claims that the Amalthea
activists are still
intending to sail directly to Gaza. Tibi has been in contact with the
organization sending the ship.
"The goal is to reach Gaza," said Tibi. "There is not only a
humanitarian goal, but there is also a political message."Amalthea's cargo: 2000 tons of rice, sugar and corn oil
Saturday evening from a port southeast of Athens, carrying 2,000 tons of
cargo, including sacks of rice and sugar, and corn oil and olive paste,
mostly donated by Greek companies and charities, organizers said.
In addition to 15 volunteers – all from Libya, except for a Nigerian and
a Moroccan – the ship has a crew of 12 from Cuba, Haiti, India and
Greek authorities said on Saturday night that the ship was headed for
Egypt. “We confirmed the destination in talks with the Libyan ambassador
and the ship’s agent,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras
said earlier in the day.
"The ambassador speaks for the state of Libya, I speak for the NGO,"
Sawani said. He said the ship would not seek confrontation with the
If Israel does not allow the ship into Gaza, the group will seek "any
other appropriate destination — El-Arish or other — to deliver the goods
to the people in need," Sawani said.