Activists refuse quid pro quo: Visits to soldier for docking rights.
By YAAKOV KATZ, JPOST.COM STAFF
The Schalit family on Thursday asked for assistance from international left-wing activists due to arrive in the Gaza Strip later in the day.If the left-wing activists pressure Hamas to allow international organizations to bring letters and food packages to Gilad Schalit, the kidnapped soldier's family has agreed to support the international expedition's attempt to dock, Army Radio reported Thursday.Lawyer Nick Kaufman presented the offer to the organization "Free Gaza," one of the organizers of the flotilla headed for Gaza, which promptly refused the offer."We are disappointed that the organizers of the flotilla have refused to also provide basic humanitarian assistance to our son, who has been held in Gaza four years in contradiction of international law," said the Schalit family.The IDF announced Wednesday evening that it was planning to stop the international convoy of nine ships currently on its way to Gaza carrying hundreds of activists and thousands of tons of supplies.“If they decide to continue sailing and do not listen to the instructions, then they will be stopped, brought to Israel and dealt with by the Interior Ministry, which will return them to the countries they came from,” an IDF statement said.According to the statement, the IDF will unload the supplies and transfer the shipment to the Gaza Strip, after inspecting it for weaponry.AdvertisementThe Navy has held a number of drills in recent weeks to prepare for the arrival of the small fleet, which is expected to try breaking the Israel-imposed sea blockade on Gaza and dock at its newly expanded port.The scenarios drilled included the commandeering of the ships, which could, military sources said Wednesday, include violent clashes – depending on the response by the passengers on the vessels.“We will do everything to ensure that the operation runs smoothly, butare prepared for every possible scenario,” one defense officialexplained.Meanwhile Wednesday, the IDF continued its media blitz against theflotilla and released datashowing that all of the supplies the ships are carrying were alreadybeing transferred by Israel to Gaza via land crossings on a regularbasis.“This flotilla is a provocation that is not needed considering thehumanitarian situation in Gaza, which is stable and good,” said Col.Moshe Levi, commander of the IDF’s Gaza Coordination and LiaisonAdministration. Levi said that 100 trucks, loaded with supplies, enterGaza on a daily basis, and that in the past two months over 1,200 tonsof medical supplies were transferred to the Strip.
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