Gaza campaign: Israeli siege 'biggest hypocrisy of modern times'

News reports from Israel over the past week indicated that Tel Aviv will attempt to prevent the ships from reaching the blockaded coastal enclave.

Gaza campaign: Israeli siege 'biggest hypocrisy of modern times'

Numerous NGOs and aid organizations from Turkey and all over Europe have taken action in an effort to break through the Israeli embargo blocking the delivery of humanitarian supplies to Gaza.

A group of NGOs, including Turkey's Foundation for Human Rights & Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (IHH), are planning to deliver more than 5,000 tones of humanitarian aid to Gaza with 4 cargo and 5 passenger ships with nearly 600 politicians, journalists and artists on board within the scope of an initiative called "Freedom Flotilla".

Holding a press conference in the Belgian capital of Brussels on Monday, Arafat Shoukri, the head of "European Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza (ECESG)" said that western countries' taking no action for the 1.5 million people struggling with a "man-made tragedy" in Gaza was the "biggest hypocrisy of modern times".

Anadolu news agency quoted Shoukri as saying, his campaign decided to break the Israeli blockade over Gaza in order to put an end to Israel's cruel acts in the region.

He also said the first ship raised anchor from Ireland and several other ships would soon depart from Turkey and Greece for Gaza.

The Freedom Flotilla aims at carrying prefabricated homes, cement and medicine to those in need in Gaza Strip.

The Rachel Corrie, a Freedom Flotilla ship named after a US peace activist who was killed by an Israeli army bulldozer in Gaza in 2003, has already set sail.

"Israeli threat"

The nine-vessel Freedom Flotilla is set to cast anchor at Gaza City's docks on May 27 with its 10,000-ton cargo of reconstruction material, medical equipment and school supplies.

But news reports from Israel over the past week indicated that Tel Aviv will attempt to prevent the ships from reaching the blockaded coastal enclave.

Clear orders have reportedly been issued to prevent the ships from reaching Gaza, even if this necessitates military intervention.

The Free Gaza Movement, which has launched eight other sea missions to Gaza, noted that Israel has issued these kinds of threats before.

One of the organisers said: "They have not deterred us before and will not deter us now."

Freedom Flotilla coalition partners Ship to Gaza - Greece and the Turkish relief organisation IHH stressed that their ships, passengers and cargo will be checked at each port of departure, making it clear that "we constitute no security threat."

Earlier this month, UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees director John Ging called upon the international community to break the siege on the Gaza Strip by sending ships loaded with aid.

"We believe that Israel will not intercept these vessels because the sea is open and human rights organisations have been successful in similar previous operations, proving that breaking the siege of Gaza is possible," Mr Ging declared.

Gaza is still considered under Israeli occupation as Israel controls air, sea and land access to the Strip.

The Rafah crossing with Egypt, Gaza's sole border crossing that bypasses Israel, rarely opens as Egypt is under immense US and Israeli pressure to keep the crossing shut.


Agencies

Last Mod: 18 Mayıs 2010, 15:13
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