Israel deports activists after Gaza flotilla seizure
Israel has deported two top political figures who had taken part in a flotilla defying the Zionist regime’s blockade of Gaza Strip.
Tunisian ex-president Moncef Marzouki and European parliament member Ana Miranda were deported from the occupied territories on Monday.
“The (former) president of Tunisia and the Spanish lawmaker flew this morning. There are another 14 who have begun the expulsion process,” a spokeswoman for Israel’s immigration authority said on Tuesday.
On Monday, Israel seized the Marianne of Gothenburg, the Swedish-flagged vessel which was part of the Freedom Flotilla III carrying pro-Palestinian activists, including 16 foreign nationals, to Gaza. The people wanted to highlight Israel’s blockade on the Palestinian enclave, which they have called as “inhumane and illegal.”
The boat was then directed to the Israeli port of Ashdod, prompting the three other vessels to turn back fearing a deadly use of force by the Israeli regime similar to what happened in 2010 to another Gaza-bound flotilla.
Israeli military said it did not use force for stopping the Marianne, but Petros Stergiou, a spokesman for the flotilla, said, “What we learned is that the Israeli navy attacked the Marianne around 100 nautical miles from the shore of Gaza.”
Stergiou condemned the Israeli seizure of the flotilla in international waters, saying, “Once again, the Israeli government and its military has acted like state pirates and attacked our boat in international waters.”
According to the organizers of the flotilla, the vessel was transporting medical equipment and solar panels for the besieged Gazans.
Reports say Israel has imprisoned the Marianne crew. “Most of Marianne crew now in Givon prison, Israel,” according to a tweet by the official Freedom Flottila Twitter account (@GazaFFlotilla) on Tuesday.
Sweden slams Gaza flotilla capture
Meanwhile, Sweden has condemned the Israeli regime for blocking the Third Freedom Flotilla in international waters.
Swedish Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Veronica Nordlund said on Tuesday that according to international law only Sweden could intervene on its vessel in international waters.
“Granted the information we have been given, the Israeli navy intervention took place in international waters. According to law it’s only the flag state, in this case Sweden, who is allowed to act against another ship in international waters. Sweden has expressed their opinion on the event to Israel,” Nordlund told the Swedish press.
The statement asked Israel to lift the blockade on Gaza immediately, saying that the humanitarian situation in the impoverished sliver is a cause for concern.
Israel has imposed a blockade on Gaza since 2007, causing a serious decline in the standard of living, unprecedented levels of unemployment, and unrelenting poverty.
In 2010, Israeli commandos attacked the Turkish-flagged MV Mavi Marmara, which was part of an aid convoy named the Freedom Flotilla in the Mediterranean Sea, killing nine Turkish citizens and injuring about 50 others. A tenth individual died after four years in a coma.
The campaign to break the siege on Gaza came as Israelis are facing huge international pressure over the atrocities they committed during the war on the coastal enclave last summer.
A United Nations report on the latest war on Gaza has decried as “unprecedented” the devastation and human suffering left behind by Israel’s 2014 attack on Gaza.
More than 2,140 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed during 51 days of Israel’s war on Gaza last summer. According to estimates, a third of the civilians killed were children.