Navy preps for Libyan flotilla

Ship is determined to break Gaza blockade, not sail to Egypt.

By
July 12, 2010 01:28
2 minute read.
Workers load supplies on to a cargo ship at the La

Amalthea 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)

 
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 uxperience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew, Ivrit
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Repor
  • 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 Don't show it again

The navy went on high alert Sunday as activists behind a Libyan-backed ship that set sail from Greece the day before expressed determination to sail directly for Gaza, and not El-Arish in the Sinai, in an attempt to break Israel’s naval blockade.

Defense officials said the navy was tracking the ship and had put forces on standby in case it needed to board the vessel, as it did when confronted with the Gazabound flotilla in late May.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


RELATED:
Libyan ship: We're going to Gaza
Israel: We won't let ship reach Gaza

Violent resistance aboard one of those ships, the Mavi Marmara, left nine Turkish activists dead.

The navy, the officials said, would make contact with the ship while it was still far from Gaza, likely in international waters, and request that it follow naval vessels into Ashdod Port. If it refuses or does not agree to sail to Egypt, Israel has prepared plans to commandeer it.

Government officials called the entire episode “superfluous.”

“Maybe no one told the Libyans, or the information has not yet reached them, but following the cabinet decision a couple weeks ago, civilian cargo now goes into Gaza,” one official said.



“This exercise is both a superfluous and unnecessary gesture.”

The official said Israel would allow no ship to break the “security envelope” around the Gaza Strip, but added that the organizers could bring the vessel into Ashdod, and that Israel would allow representativesfrom the boat to accompany the cargo – reportedly some 2,000 tons of rice, sugar and corn oil – into Gaza.

The ship is being funded by a charity headed by a son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, and is expected to approach Gaza early Wednesday morning.

Youssef Sawani, executive director of the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation, said Sunday in an interview with Army Radio that the vessel was heading for Gaza, although on Saturday, foreign ministry officials from Israel and Greece said the ship was headed for Egypt.

In response to Sawani’s 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,” Lieberman said. “They can deliver aid for Gaza to El-Arish or Ashdod.”

The foreign minister added that while Israel was not looking for a confrontation, no one would be allowed to undermine the country’s sovereignty.

MK Ahmed Tibi (Ta’al), who has been in contact with the Libyan charity group, echoed Sawani’s claims that the ship, the Moldovan-flagged Amalthea, was headed directly to Gaza.

“The goal is to reach Gaza,” Tibi said.

“There is not only a humanitarian goal, there is a political message.”

In addition to 15 volunteers – all from Libya, except for a Nigerian citizen and a Moroccan national – the ship has a crew of 12 from Cuba, Haiti, India and Syria.

Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.

Related Content

France's Kylian Mbappe celebrates scoring their fourth goal with teammates, July 15, 2018
July 15, 2018
France overpowers Croatia to win World Cup

By REUTERS