Turkey hopes Israel not to raise tension over Gaza aid ships

Turkey hopes Israel not to attack or halt an international aid convoy of ships carrying humanitarian aid to the besieged Gaza, expecting "common sense" from Israel.

Turkey hopes Israel not to raise tension over Gaza aid ships

Turkey hopes Israel not to attack or halt an international aid convoy of ships carrying humanitarian aid to the besieged Gaza, expecting "common sense" from Israel.

But, Israel already said, they will stop the humanitarian ships.

Speaking to reporters at a news conference during a U.N. meeting on the Palestinian peace process, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said his government had been in touch with Israel about the aid convoy.

"Acting calmly is necessary rather than raising already heightened tensions," he said. "The blockade on Gaza should be lifted."

He added: "We don't want new tensions ... We believe Israel will use common sense towards this civilian initiative."

Ankara, which has repeatedly condemned the blockade, has contacted Israel over the dispute, Davutoglu said, but denied reports of a Turkish "ultimatum".

"What matters is that the assistance the Palestinian people in Gaza need reaches Gaza. We should find an appropriate way to achieve that," he said. "We should keep prudence and not add to the already high tensions in the region."

"Not concerned over our safety"


The convoy, organised by the Istanbul-based Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (IHH), includes vessels from Britain, Greece, Algeria, Kuwait, Malaysia and Ireland.

It is carrying some $20 million worth of supplies, making it the largest ever to the Palestinian Territories, Salih Bilici, spokesman for the IHH, told Reuters.

"Part of this mission is to draw attention to the suffering of the people of Gaza," Bilici said. "We are not concerned that our safety is at risk, because we are a humanitarian group without political aims."

The group is determined to deliver the aid directly to Gaza, rather than leaving it with Israeli authorities, Bilici said.

“Under international law, Israel has no say over Palestinian waters. If they intervene, their action will amount to that of the pirates in Somalia,” another IHH spokesman said, over any Israel attack.

“If we are stopped, we will wait until we have a permission. There is no turning back,” IHH added.

The fleet -- dubbed the Freedom Flotilla -- will carry 10,000 tonnes of cargo, mainly medical supplies, hospital equipment and construction materials, with 750 activists on board.

"Foreign MPs onboard"


The Israeli foreign ministry has called the campaign a "provocation" and said it would stop the fleet.

25 MPs from different countries will also be onboard, according to an IHH statement.

A number of writers and MPs in addition to hundreds of human rights activists are also joining the 9-ship humanitarian aid flotilla, IHH said.

25 MPs in total will be onboard the flotilla to Gaza including 1 MP from Kuwait, 10 from Algeria, 1 from Jordan, 3 from Yemen, 1 from Bahrain, 1 from Morocco, 2 from Egypt and 3 from Ireland.

Israel launched on Dec. 27 a massive offensive in Gaza, killing more than 1434 Palestinians, a third of them children, and wounded at least 5300.

The cargo ship named "Gaza" will be carrying 2,104 tons of cement, 600 tons of iron bars, 50 tons of ceramic tile adhesive.

In its land, sea and ar offensive, Israel targeted hospitals, schools, mosques and government buildings and destroyed infrastructure system in Gaza, lefting Palestinians without electricity, gas and power.

But Israel imposes heavy blockade on entry of infrastracture materials under the pretext of Palestinians can use them as "weapon" materials.


Agencies

Last Mod: 26 Mayıs 2010, 16:50
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