Gaza Flotilla Begins Journey, but Faces Setbacks



PNN – Palestine News Network -29.06.11 – 14:09

Athens – PNN – One of the 10 ships set to take part in the upcoming Gaza flotilla is already en route to the meeting point in international waters while other ships faced delays and setbacks.


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The French ship Dignity will wait for the rest of the flotilla in international waters.

On Tuesday flotilla organizers said the propeller on the Swedish-Greek ship Juliano was sabotaged, adding that the ship will still take part in the flotilla after repairs have been made.

Greek authorities also conducted a surprise inspection of the Canadian ship Tahrir on Monday after a complaint from an unknown private citizen.

Ewa Jasiewicz, a leader of the Free Gaza movement, said the remaining ships might not leave port until next week.

The Israeli military has been rehearsing tactics for stopping the ships from making it to Gaza. Last year’s flotilla was attacked by Israeli soldiers and the ships were towed to an Israeli port. Nine Turkish activists were killed in the attack and 54 others wounded, resulting in international condemnation.

The Israeli army said earlier this week that flotilla activists are planning to dump sulfur on soldiers and then light them on fire.

David Heap, a leader of the flotilla, said the Israeli claims were lies and that every activist taking part in the action has signed a commitment to non-violence.

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barack said at an army ceremony that the Gaza activists want to delegitimize Israel.

“There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” said Barack, “If [activists] are sensitive to human suffering, then they need to turn their efforts to freeing Gilad Shalit,” the Israeli soldier kidnapped five years ago, reported Israeli daily the Jerusalem Post.

Israel has blockaded Gaza for the past five years. 70 percent of the coastal enclave’s 1.5 million people are Palestinian refugees.

Gaza faces serious shortages of essential humanitarian, medical, construction and food supplies. One in two families is in need of food aid said Sir Vincent Fean, the British ambassador to Palestine.


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