July 1, 2011 in News
Gaza aid flotilla: Irish crew accuse Israel of sabotage (BBC):
Irish activists planning to sail in a flotilla to Gaza have accused Israel of sabotaging their ship.
It is the second vessel due to participate that has had its propeller damaged while moored in a Mediterranean port this week.
The Israeli military is under orders to prevent an international convoy of ships carrying pro-Palestinian activists and aid from reaching Gaza.
Organisers want to challenge Israel’s naval blockade of the territory.
More than 300 protesters on 10 ships, from North America and Europe, are due to join the latest flotilla. American writer, Alice Walker, is among those due to set sail.
Last year, nine activists on a Turkish vessel, the Mavi Marmara, were killed in an Israeli raid on an aid flotilla. Each side blamed the other for the violence.
Following international outcry, Israel considerably eased its blockade of Gaza, allowing in more food and humanitarian goods.
The Irish Ship to Gaza (ISG) campaign noticed problems with the propeller of their vessel, the Saoirse, while berthed in the Turkish port of Gocek. The group claims it was attacked “by saboteurs who cut, gouged or filed a piece off the shaft.”
“Israel has questions to answer and must be viewed as the chief suspect,” the ISG said.
On Tuesday, similar allegations of sabotage were made by activists on the Swedish-owned Juliano, docked in Piraeus in Greece. Israel has not commented on the allegations.
Gaza flotilla ship ‘sabotaged by divers’ (Al Jazeera):
A Swedish ship due to join an upcoming Gaza-bound aid flotilla has been sabotaged in the Greek port of Piraeus, organisers say.
In a statement, they said “hostile divers had destroyed the propeller house and cut the propeller shaft” of the vessel Juliano on Monday.
The ship is part of the 10-vessel Freedom Flotilla II that is expected to set sail from Greece and elsewhere for the Gaza Strip in the coming days in a bid to break Israel’s blockade of the Palestinian territory.
About 350 pro-Palestinian activists from 22 countries are likely to participate.
Israel insists the latest flotilla is a “dangerous provocation” and has vowed to intercept it.
Organisers of the flotilla, however, remain defiant and said the Juliano would be ready to sail within one or two days after being repaired. They said they had documented the sabotage with their own camera-equipped divers.
“We are sad that people are doing such things but we are determined to continue to Gaza,” Dror Feiler, one of the organisers, told Al Jazeera from aboard the Juliano.
“We will not be frightened by Israel, and we are going to continue. Our friends from all around the world are with us, and we are all going to Gaza.”
Mattias Gardell, a spokesperson for Ship to Gaza Sweden, also condemned the act of sabotage.
“It’s one thing for a foreign power to press the Greek government to delay our voyage with red tape. It is quite another thing for enemy agents to operate on Greek territory.
“It is high time for the international community to put their foot down and say: Enough!”
Related Material From the Archive:
- (U//FOUO) Israel Defense Forces Free Gaza Flotilla Briefing
- Israel Rejects UN International Inquiry into Flotilla Raid
- Israel to deport Gaza boat activists
- Israel Kills At Least 15 People on Aid Flotilla in International Waters
- UPDATE: Israel Defense Force Fabricates Anti-Semitic Remarks in Aid Flotilla Tape
- (U//FOUO) Central Florida Intelligence Exchange Gaza Flotilla Protest Warning
- Allies push Israel for Gaza probe
- Israel ‘using Facebook to recruit Gaza collaborators’