Erekat blasts Israel for takeover of flotilla

PLO official demands Israel release women involved in latest attempt to break Israel's naval blockade of Gaza.

Dalit Halevi ,

Saeb Erekat
Saeb Erekat
Flash 90

Saeb Erekat, the secretary of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) executive committee, blasted Israel on Wednesday evening for taking over the women’s flotilla which attempted to break Israel’s naval blockade on Gaza.

In a statement, Erekat strongly condemned what he called the Israeli "aggression" against the "freedom flotilla" which, he said, tried to break the "illegal" Israeli blockade imposed on Gaza.

Israel does not allow entry of ships to Gaza for security reasons, fearing that Hamas and other terrorist organizations will use these ships to acquire weapons.

As an alternative, goods and humanitarian aid can be transferred to Gaza through the Ashdod Port and are supervised by Israel.

Erekat in his statement declared that the Palestinians are proud of and applaud the International Solidarity Movement which supports the demands of the Palestinian people, and are particularly proud of the women’s flotilla which included members of parliament, writers and human rights activists.

He demanded that Israel immediately release the women who took part in the flotilla, and called on the governments of Spain, Sweden, Norway, Australia and Canada to intervene immediately to prevent Israel from harming the rights of their citizens.

Meanwhile, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said on Wednesday night that the Zaytouna-Oliva boat, which the navy had taken over earlier, had arrived and docked safely at the Ashdod Port.

According to the statement, the 13 women who took part in the flotilla were transferred for interrogation.

Last time the Women's Boat to Gaza attempted to enter Gaza in 2015, the Israeli navy boarded and took over its vessel, Marianne. The boat was taken to the Israeli city of Ashdod to have its contents inspected.

The women’s initiative is one of several recent attempts to break Israel's naval blockade on Gaza, which a UN team has said is completely legal.