Monday, June 22, 2015

Outrage in Israel as Arab MP says to join Gaza flotilla

An announcement by an Arab Israeli lawmaker that he plans to join a pro-Palestinian flotilla seeking to break Israel's blockade on Gaza caused outrage Monday among the country's political class.

Basel Ghattas, an MP with the Joint Arab List, sparked controversy after he announced he would join other parliamentarians and public figures from around the world in the latest attempt to reach Gaza by ship later this month.

Gaza has been subjected to an Israeli blockade for nine years, which includes a complete ban on ships entering or leaving the coastal enclave's waters.

Pro-Palestinian activists have repeatedly tried to reach the Hamas-run Gaza Strip by sea but have been blocked by the Israeli navy.

In May 2010, Israeli commandos staged a botched raid on a six-ship flotilla which ended in bloodshed that claimed the lives of 10 Turkish nationals and sparked a crisis with Ankara....

  • A flotilla comprised of three vessels carrying pro-Palestinian activists will set sail from a Mediterranean port over the coming days and will head for the Gaza Strip in a bid to break the Israeli- and Egyptian-imposed blockade on the Palestinian enclave.

The activists say the vessels are carrying a cargo of solar panels and medical supplies for Gaza residents, who are still recovering from last summer’s Operation Protective Edge, and expect to reach the Strip by the end of the month, unless they are intercepted.

Organizers would not provide specific details about the whereabouts of the vessels, dubbed Freedom Flotilla III, nor the date they were expected to set off, but indicated it would be sometime over the next few days.

Activists told al-Jazeera that they have a “strict non-violence policy” and would not use violence against the Israeli Navy should they be intercepted in international waters or beyond.

Israel and Egypt imposed a blockade on Gaza in 2007 when the Islamist Hamas group took control of the Strip in a bloody coup, ousting the Palestinian Authority leadership...................


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