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Freedom Flotilla will not stop despite threats

17 May 2010 0:55

The organizers of the Freedom Flotilla convoy said Saturday that Israel’s intimidation tactics will not stop aid boats from sailing to the besieged Gaza Strip, announcing that Rachel Corrie cargo ship, one of eight vessels, had already set sail from Ireland en route to the Mediterranean sea.

There are other seven ships from Turkey, Greece, and Sweden that will join the cargo ship before heading together to Gaza.

The participating Free Gaza movement, which has launched eight other sea missions to Gaza, confirmed that Israel has tried these kinds of threats and intimidation tactics before in order to try to stop the missions before they start.

“They have not deterred us before and will not deter us now,” one of the organizers said.

The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) had said it would not allow the Freedom Flotilla convoy to reach Gaza with its cargo of much-needed reconstruction material, medical equipment, and school supplies.

According to Israeli news sources, clear orders were issued to prevent the ships from reaching Gaza, even if this necessitates military violence.

The Swedish anti-siege ship, a Freedom Flotilla coalition partner, together with lawmaker Mehmet Kaplan from the Green Party asked for a meeting with minister of foreign affairs of Sweden, Carl Bildt, to discuss what measures the Swedish government and the European Union will take to protect the convoy.

Earlier this week during a meeting with the European campaign to end the siege on Gaza, another coalition partner, Turkish premier Recep Erdogan expressed his support for breaking the oppressive siege on Gaza and stressed that this matter is at the top of Turkey’s list of priorities.

Coalition partners, the Greek anti-siege ship and the Turkish relief organization IHH, affirmed that the ships, passengers, and cargo will be checked at each port of departure, making it clear that the convoy constitutes no security threat to Israel.

“Israel’s threats to attack unarmed civilians aboard vessels carrying reconstruction aid are outrageous and indicative of the cruel and violent nature of Israel’s policies towards Gaza. The Freedom Flotilla is acting in line with universal principals of human rights and justice in defying a blockade identified as illegal by the UN and other humanitarian organizations. Palestinians in Gaza have a right to thousands of basic supplies that Israel bans from entering, including cement and schoolbooks, as well as a right to access the outside world,” the Freedom Flotilla coalition said.

The Freedom Flotilla coalition called on all signatories to the fourth Geneva convention to pressure Israel to adhere to its obligations under international humanitarian law, to end its deadly blockade on Gaza, and to refrain from its intention to attack the convoy.

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