All-women Gaza ship risks Israel attack

New Gaza-bound aid ship with only women activists on board faces new Israeli attack after Israel vowed "all means to stop women.

All-women Gaza ship risks Israel attack

New Gaza-bound aid ship with only women activists on board faces new Israeli attack after Israel vowed "all means to stop women.

The Lebanon aid ships are in a small flotilla and are in the command of a group of Lebanese women activists, who have been joined by Europeans and journalists.

Israel's UN envoy has told the world body that Israel is entitled to use "all necessary force" to prevent activists sailing from Lebanon to Gaza.

New efforts come after the 31 May attack in which Israel raided a six-ship convoy in international waters that was carrying humanitarian goods and activists and heading for Gaza killed nine Turkish civilians, wounding at least 30 others.

A group of 50 female Lebanese and foreign activists have announced a plan to send an aid ship loaded with medical supplies to Gaza, which has been under siege since 2007.

The organizers are yet to announce a departure date for the ship, named "Mariam" in honor of the Virgin Mary.

"Pretext

Israel claims that the new all-women Gaza-bound aid flotilla is linked to the Lebanese resistance movement of Hezbollah. However, Hezbollah has denied having ties with the new convoy, saying it would not join the humanitarian mission as it did not want to give Israel an excuse to attack the Gaza campaigners.

In a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and to the Security Council, Israeli Ambassador Gabriela Shalev said, "Israel reserves its right under international law to use all necessary means to prevent these ships from violating the existing naval blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip."

"While those who organise this action claim that they wish to break the blockade on Gaza and to bring humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza, the true nature of the actions remains dubious."

But, Hezbollah has said in a statement that it decided from the very beginning to "stay away from this humanitarian act in terms of organisation, logistic support and participation so as not to give the Israeli enemy any pretext to attack the participants."

Turkey demands international probe, as offered by UN, over the killings of citizens in internaional waters.

International Committee of the Red Cross said the blockade violated the Geneva Conventions and called for its lifting. It said "the whole of Gaza's civilian population is being punished for acts for which they bear no responsibility".

Arab League chief Amr Moussa also visited the Gaza Strip, the highest Arab official to do so since 2007, and called for an end to Israel's blockade of the Palestinian territory.

Agencies

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Haziran 2010, 15:39

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