IDF to intercept Gaza-headed flotilla

Activists won't push Hamas to allow Schalit visit for docking rights.

By
May 27, 2010 15:28
2 minute read.
A ship protesting the Gaza blockade

GazaProtestFlotilla311. (photo credit: .)

 
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

Navy commandos will board the nine international aid ships sailing toward Gaza City if they don’t turn back, and the commandos will be armed in case terrorists are hiding aboard, defense officials said on Thursday.

The ships are scheduled to try to break the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip on Saturday. They are carrying around 750 activists, including diplomats and journalists, as well as about 10,000 tons of supplies.

RELATED:
Gaza flotilla refuses to help Schalit
UNRWA head in Gaza voices support for flotilla
Foreign Ministry: Gaza flotillas won't assist residents
Gaza port readies for flotilla

Top IDF officers said on Thursday that the navy will not “take any chances” if and when it boards the ships, and will immediately inspect them for explosives, including using bomb-sniffing dogs from the IDF’s Oketz K9 Unit.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


The navy plans to board the ships if they refuse to turn around. The ships will receive a number of warnings from the navy as they begin to make their approach to the Gaza Strip, starting from a distance of about 65 kilometers. If the ships are commandeered, they will be sailed to the Ashdod Port, where the government has set up tents to hold the activists.

The activists will be taken into the tents for identification and medical attention, and asked to leave the country voluntarily. If they refuse, they will be arrested and transferred to the custody of the Prisons Service and the Interior Ministry.

Foreign Ministry officials will be present to handle the diplomats who are on board the ships, while representatives of the Government Press Office will be responsible for the journalists.

“We are on a humanitarian and solidarity action. We intend to continue it until we reach our goal and will not be stopped,” flotilla organizer Dror Feiler said.

Feiler, 68, a musician who lives in Stockholm and has renounced his Israeli citizenship, said he brought a saxophone with him and would greet Israeli sailors boarding his boat with music “from the time when Jews didn’t have armies and police to harass freedom fighters, when Jews were victims, and were standing at the forefront of the fight for the dignity of people.”



IDF sources said the military was planning on not having to use any force during the operation but was prepared for any scenario that could develop, including the possibility that the ships have been rigged with explosives by terrorists.

“Until we are on board, we will not know for sure who and what are on the ships,” a senior officer said.

The operation will involve thousands of IDF and security personnel, including a number of elite units, trained in non-lethal crowd dispersion tactics that will be used, if needed, when boarding the vessels.

Late Thursday evening, Cypriot officials assured Israel that Cyprus would not let the flotilla anchor near its shores, sail in its territorial waters or use its ports.

Related Content

Jisr az-Zarq
April 3, 2014
Residents of Jisr az-Zarqa beckon Israel Trail hikers to enjoy their town

By SHARON UDASIN