Free Gaza, a far-left organization offering support to the jihadist Hamas government in the Palestinian Authority, sent a ship on Monday to defy the Israeli sea blockade on Gaza. Despite the major IDF military operation underway, sixteen Free Gaza activists, including a former member of the US Congress, are on their way to the region.
The ship, a yacht, left from Cyprus this evening carrying Free Gaza supporters from Britain, Australia, Ireland, Cyprus and Tunisia, as well as former US Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. Free Gaza spokesmen told the press before they set off that their ship is carrying three and a half tons of medical supplies, including antibiotics. The yacht is the sixth of its kind sent to Gaza by the organization in four months.
A Cypriot doctor on board the ship said that they are sending a message to PA residents that "they are not alone." McKinney said that she intends to call on American President-elect Barack Obama to condemn Israel's Operation "Cast Lead" against the jihadist regime in Gaza.
Free Gaza spokeswoman Caoimhe Butterly said that, while they are entering a war zone, they "hope that the Israelis will be ready to accept that this is a humanitarian mission." The risks, she said, are outweighed by the potential to provide assistance.
In past such missions, the Free Gaza organization spirited out of Israeli waters PA residents to whom Israel denied exit visas out of security concerns. In the past, the Israeli government adopted an unofficial policy of allowing the Free Gaza group to violate Israeli sovereignty over its coastal waters rather than letting them stage a media event focused on IDF intervention on the high seas. However, Israel has prevented Libyan and Qatari ships from docking in Gaza, as well as halting a solidarity ship that was to sail from Tel Aviv-Jaffa.