IDF monitoring progress of latest Gaza-bound flotilla

Security sources unperturbed by Palestinian Islamic Jihad threat to violate truce if Israel Navy stops flotilla

June 16, 2015 23:00
1 minute read.
Gaza flotilla

Activists aboard a flotilla to Gaza [file]. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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The IDF is conducting naval intelligence to monitor the progress of a Gazabound flotilla that set off from Sweden at the end of May and docked at Palmero, Italy, on Monday.

The Marianne av Göteborg trawler is carrying a crew of pro-Palestinian activists, who have brought with them a solar panel and medical equipment.

It is scheduled to rendezvous with other ships in the eastern part of the Mediterranean in the coming days.

The activists have stated their intention of reaching the Gaza Strip and breaking Israel’s security blockade of the territory ruled by Hamas.

“On arrival in Gaza Port, we will donate the ship to a local fisherman’s union,” sailor Charlie Andreasson was quoted as saying on the website of Ship to Gaza Sweden, the organization that launched the flotilla.

Israel has told past flotillas to Gaza that they are welcome to dock at Ashdod Port, where their equipment can undergo a comprehensive security check, and that any humanitarian equipment can be sent on to Gaza afterward via a land crossing.

On Monday, Channel 2 cited senior Islamic Jihad leader Khaled al-Batash as saying his organization would end its truce with Israel if the navy intercepted the flotilla.

However, security sources who spoke with The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday did not express particular concern over that threat.

Meanwhile, Hamas officials have arrived in Qatar to discuss a potential longterm truce with Israel, Israel Radio said Monday.

Among the officials reportedly involved in the negotiations is Hamas deputy leader Mussa Abu Marzouk, who flew to Qatar on Saturday.

One of the items that would be part of an agreement is the creation of a detached, floating Gazan seaport.

Hamas is expected to accept the plan, according to the report. Meetings will also cover whether the floating port would be under the control of Israel or of an international authority.

During negotiations before the end of Operation Protective Edge in August 2014, the Palestinian delegation in Cairo pushed aside Israel’s offer to allow a seaport in the Gaza Strip if Hamas and Islamic Jihad agreed to disarm, according to reports by Israel Radio and the BBC at the time.

Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.

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