World Bulletin / News Desk
Israel will not allow the third Freedom Flotilla to reach Gaza, Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahson told Anadolu Agency on Wednesday.
On June 22, the third Gaza Freedom Flotilla will travel from its current location in Greece to Gaza, the Palestinian Information Center's website said Monday.
"If they want to deliver aid to Gazans they can do so via Israel. Those who are in the flotilla will be sent back to their countries," Nahson said, adding that the aid in the flotilla would be delivered to the people of Gaza.
Dr. Issam Youssef, head of the Miles of Smiles convoy, said Monday that the flotilla would set sail to Gaza via Vienna, despite Israeli threats to obstruct the convoy, according to the Palestinian Information Center's website.
Youssef urged the international community to take responsibility and protect the flotilla against any Israeli attacks.
Former Tunisian President Mohamed al-Moncef al-Marzouki and a number of Arab and European activists arrived in Greece to join the convoy.
"I am not sure they are bringing aid with them for the Gazan people. I think their aims are just political," Nahson said.
The spokesman underlined that Israel is preparing for the flotilla and hoped to end it without violence.
He was referring to the first "Gaza Freedom Flotilla" expedition in May 2010, which ended in tragedy after Israeli commandos killed nine Turkish nationals and an American of Turkish origin in a raid on the flotilla ship, Mavi Marmara. Another person died in a Turkish hospital in 2014 after being in coma for almost four years.
The second freedom flotilla set sail in 2012, but it too was turned back.
Israel has imposed a strict naval blockade on the Gaza Strip since 2007. The 1.8 million inhabitants of the besieged Palestinian enclave have been deprived of many of their most basic needs under the near decade-long blockade.
In July and August 2014, more than 2,100 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were killed and 11,000 injured -- mostly women and children -- during Israel's 51-day Operation Protective Edge.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 25 Haziran 2015, 12:57