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Gaza Flotilla: Not a Bang, But a Whimper

A lone French yacht carrying 17 is expected to challenge the Israeli navy off the coast of Gaza after having lied to Greek authorities to set sail.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 7/18/2011, 5:40 PM / Last Update: 7/18/2011, 7:00 PM

freegaza.org

After months of media blitz and hype the lone French vessel 'Dignite-Al Karama' has embarked for Gaza as the Freedom Flotilla 2, Reuters reports.

The French yacht carrying 17 passengers is expected to arrive at Gaza in a day where its organizers say they plan to challenge the Israeli naval blockade in the name of the Free Gaza Movement.

"It is now the voice of the whole Freedom Flotilla, as all its (other) ships were forbidden to sail by the Greek government thereby fulfilling a clear demand by the Israeli government," the statement said.

Flotilla vessels that docked in Greece last month were refused permission by Hellenic authorities to sail for Gaza. Two were turned back by the coast guard after leaving port without authorization. Flotilla organizers claim two other boats were sabotaged.

Greta Berlin of the Free Gaza Movement said the 'Dignite-Al Karame' had declared Alexandria, Egypt, as its destination "in order to get out of Greece."

"But you can change destinations in the middle of the Mediterranean, any time you want to," she said. "It's legal to do that."

The Hamas terrorist organization that rules Gaza claims Israel's blockade is illegal, but drafts of the Palmer Report on the 2010 Gaza flotilla indicates Israel's blockade is legal under international law.

While organizers claim the flotilla is intended to bring much-needed aid to a starving Gaza, Israel's Kerem Shalom crossing is never at full capacity due to a lack of demand.

This despite the fact that Egypt, after a brief opening, has again closed the Rafiah crossing from Gaza to Sinai.