Turkey's IHH confirmed last week the infamous Mavi Marmara will serve as the flagship of a second flotilla aiming to violate Israel's territorial waters and break the Israeli blockade on the Hamas terrorist organization in Gaza.
“Freedom Flotilla 2,” its organizers say, will attempt to take 4,000 anti-Israel activists from around the world on 20 ships to Gaza. It is scheduled to set sail on May 15th to coincide with the annual Naqba demonstrations staged by Arabs in Israel to protest the founding of the Jewish state.
Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon plans to meet with foreign ambassadors at the ministry on Tuesday to seek their help in heading this year’s flotilla off at the pass.
The Foreign Ministry has also been asking foreign governments, including Spain, Britain, Ireland and Sweden, to publish travel advisories warning their citizens against sailing to Gaza. Britain and Ireland have in fact done so.
According to an unconfirmed report in the Tehran Times, Foreign Minister Avigdor Leiberman, who is currently in Berlin to discuss a panoply of diplomatic issues with his German counterpart, Guido Westerwelle, will ask for German assistance in stopping this year's flotilla attempt.
According to the report, Lieberman will also discuss stopping the flotilla with Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, who is also in Berlin today. Lieberman is expected to raise the issue with Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg during his upcoming visit to Prague as well.
Activists on the first IHH flotilla in May 2010 ambushed Israeli naval commandos who boarded the ship in accordance with international law, attempted to take them captive and seriously injuring several. The commandos were forced to kill nine aggressors in order to rescue their imperiled comrades.
Contrary to claims by the organizers there was no aid on the flotilla, which they themselves let slip was intended to be a public relations debacle for Israel.
French, German, Italian, and US security officials all say the Turkish IHH is involved in sponsoring terror. The US has moved to list it as a terror organization. The IHH banned by Germany last year, however, is not the same organization as the one behind the first Gaza flotilla.