Daily Israel Report

IHH Head: Despite Rafiah Opening, Flotilla Two Still On

IHH Head Bülent Yıldırım clarifies that Egypt's opening of it border with Gaza doesn't change his organization's plan for a flo
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 5/30/2011, 2:59 AM / Last Update: 5/30/2011, 3:13 AM

Flash 90

The Turkish-based IHH group said on Sunday that Saturday’s reopening of the Rafiah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip will not change its plans to send a second flotilla to Gaza.

IHH Head Bülent Yıldırım told the Turkish daily Hürriyet in an interview: “In the past, we went there for Gaza, but now we are going for humanity and the law.”

Yıldırım admitted in the interview that Israel had loosened its embargo over Gaza since last year and had lifted its embargo on many items of humanitarian aid, but added: “If they had told us before our departure last year that they would [loosen the embargo], we wouldn’t have gone. But now we have lost nine of our friends as martyrs.”

The group previously announced that the infamous Mavi Marmara will serve as the flagship of the ‘Freedom Flotilla 2,” aimed at violating Israel’s territorial waters and breaking the Israeli blockade on the Hamas terrorist organization in Gaza.

The group said that the flotilla would attempt to take 4,000 anti-Israel activists from around the world on 20 ships to Gaza.

During last year’s flotilla, IHH activists ambushed IDF naval commandos who boarded the Mavi Marmara in accordance with international law after its captain refused to change course and not head for Gaza. The activists attempted to take the soldiers captive and beat them with clubs, seriously injuring several of them. The commandos were forced to kill nine aggressors in order to rescue their imperiled comrades.

It was later discovered that, contrary to claims by the organizers, there was no humanitarian aid whatsoever on the flotilla ships.

Meanwhile on Sunday, President Shimon Peres met with Dr. Asha Rose Migiro, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, and spoke to her about the planned flotillas to Gaza.

Peres said that “international law permits a country to prevent entry of ships that have not been inspected and are suspected of carrying arms, even outside its own territorial waters.”