2008 flotilla
2008 flotillaIsrael news photo: Flash90

The parents of Gilad Shalit, held captive in Gaza for nearly four years, asked the organizers of the “human rights” flotilla to take letters and packages for Gilad. The answer was no.

The Shalit family even offered its help in asking the Government of Israel to allow the ships to pass through to Gaza – and still the organizers of the humanitarian mission said no.

Gilad has been held captive by Hamas terrorists in Gaza for nearly four years, during which time he has been allowed absolutely no contact with neutral or Israeli elements.

Meanwhile, Foreign Ministry Director-General Yossi Gal summoned the ambassadors of the participating countries in the flotilla – Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Sweden and Ireland – and made it clear that Israel would not allow the ships to reach Gaza. He said that the ships' goods bound for Gaza could be dropped off in Ashdod, where they would be screened by security personnel and then delivered to Gaza.

Gal also told them that Gaza is run by a terrorist organization whose priority is not the welfare of its residents: “This organization continues to arm itself with arms and rockets, and to perpetuate a situation of armed conflict with Israel, after years of attacking Israeli citizens, under Iranian auspices. Israel therefore has the natural right to prevent the arrival of unsupervised products in Gaza.”

Defense Minister Ehud Barak similarly told some of the above countries’ foreign ministers last night and today that the Israel Navy would block the ships should they try to reach the Gaza shore. He said that the ships are simply a “political and media provocation,” and not a humanitarian project. Barak emphasized that thousands of tons of food and equipment arrive in Gaza each day.

The organizers of the flotilla told the Shalit family that their main purpose in organizing the convoy is to break the blockade and to deliver the humanitarian aid. They refused to make the transfer of the aid conditional on anything having to do with Gilad Shalit.

The Shalit family said afterwards that they regret the refusal of the convoy organizers to cooperate or to grant humanitarian aid to their son Gilad, “who has been held by Hamas in Gaza for four years, against all law and international charters.”