Daily Israel Report

Gaza-Bound Ship Secretly Left Greece, Say Activists

A ship intended to sail to Gaza is docked in a secret port until a country is willing to allow passengers to board, activists said.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 8/17/2011, 12:58 PM

Pro-Hamas activists on Free Gaza boat
Pro-Hamas activists on Free Gaza boat
Aritz Sheva photo: Flash 90

A ship intended to try to break Israeli sovereignty over waters at Hamas-controlled Gaza has secretly left Greece and is docked in an undisclosed port while activists try to find a country willing to allow passengers to board, according to the Free Palestine Movement.

Its newsletter told supporters that “our partners asked us to say nothing about our ship, and they were right to do so, because our silence allowed the ship to quietly leave Greece with the hope of placing the passengers on board at another location.”

The Kuwait news agency KUNA reported that the boat was bought for $1 million and is docked in Port Said, Egypt after being held up in Turkish waters for three weeks.

Free Gaza spokeswoman Great Berlin told Arutz Sheva she "can" shed information on the boat but "won't" do so.

The ship is called the Nour al-Haqiqa, Arabic for “The Light of Truth,” which activists said can carry 120 passengers and crew and is the largest flotilla ship outside of the Mavi Marmara. The IHH-charted boat last year carried terror-linked activists who savagely attacked defenseless IDF Navy commandos until the soldiers managed to overcome the assault and prevent the ship from approaching Gaza..

Israel has imposed a maritime embargo on Gaza to prevent Hamas from smuggling in more advanced weapons for its arsenal. Several large insurance and equipment companies have shunned dealing with flotilla activists due to threats of lawsuits that would charge they are aiding terrorism by allowing assistance to Hamas.

“The Nour is currently berthed in a secure location where it can receive fuel, provisions and servicing,” Free Palestine said. “Unfortunately, however, we have been unsuccessful until now in finding a country in the Mediterranean that will allow our passengers to go on board.”

It said that Israel has helped activists by not confiscating ships that formerly were stopped from reaching Gaza. “The longer the boats remain in our hands, the more pressure there is to use them,” according to the pro-Hamas movement.

It also challenged legal claims, claiming that “the reasons given for preventing the boats from sailing are probably not justifiable in a court of law, and the boats will have to be given permission to be used at some point.”