Flotilla organizers to discuss alternatives should Greek ban persist

[ 02/07/2011 – 04:06 PM ]

AMMAN, (PIC)– The international coalition to break the siege on Gaza will hold a consultative meeting in Athens on Sunday to discuss Greece’s position on the Freedom Flotilla II, a source from the coalition said Saturday.

Greece declared two days ago that it would stop any ship joining the flotilla from departing from its ports.

Greek coast guards turned back Friday two of the flotilla’s ships that left the country to challenge Israel’s naval blockade on the Gaza Strip and deliver much needed aid. One of the ships was from the U.S. and the other from Canada.

The coalition, which includes members from 26 countries, will discuss Greece’s official ban on the ships as well as ways to guarantee that the humanitarian task of delivering aid will not be disrupted should Greece continue the ban, said coalition member Wael al-Sakka.

Sakka is also president of the Jordanian Lifeline committee, which purchased last week a ship for 560,000 Euros. The ship will carry 70 passengers and will join the Freedom Flotilla and is currently registered in Greece.

Palestinian organizations have condemned Greece’s decision and accused Greece of succumbing to Israeli pressure.

“The Greek government should have aided the peace activists and followed international law and pressured Israel to lift the siege on the Gaza Strip and not stop the Freedom Flotilla II from arriving to the Gaza Strip,” said the network of Palestinian NGOs.

The Freedom Flotilla II has already succeeded in shedding light on the suffering of the Palestinians in light of the siege, the network said in a statement.

The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine also condemned the ban and called on European states to work towards breaking the Gaza siege and allowing the ships to sail to Gaza.

The DFLP also called on Egypt to open up its borders with the Gaza Strip and allow the flow of trade without restrictions.

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