Navy prepares for Gaza flotilla
Navy prepares for Gaza flotilla Israel news photo: IDF

The latest attempt  by sea to allow the de facto Hamas terrorist government sovereignty over the Gaza Coast has been delayed until Monday following technical and diplomatic delays. Israel has vowed to stop the boats, now numbering five, from reaching the coast and setting a precedent that would allow to freely bring to Gaza weapons, explosives and terrorists.

The Israeli Navy previously has stopped similar attempts, on a smaller scale, and it has taken precautions to try to avoid a public relations disaster. The activists, who are backed by Turkey and extremist elements, are using emotional gimmicks to promote their cause and are telecasting live from the boats.

They hope that Israel’s stopping a ship with an elderly Holocaust survivor and a shipment that includes wheelchairs will win them sympathy in the face of the Navy plan to force the boats to dock at Ashdod. “You have to think hard about trying to stop ships carrying journalists, parliamentarians and activists, “said Greta Berlin, a spokeswoman for the “Free Gaza” movement. “We have an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor on one of our ships. A lot of the activists are over the age of 60. This wouldn’t be a fair fight."

As in previous attempts to challenge Israel’s sovereignty over the Gaza Coast, as agreed under the Oslo Accords and in agreement with international law on the issue, Israel has said the activists are free to deliver their goods and aid by land via the Ashdod port.

Israel has tried to make it clear to foreign journalists that hundreds of tons of humanitarian aid and building materials flow into Gaza every day. “We are entering hundreds of tons of aid every week according to the Gazans’ requests, food, medicines, different kinds of necessities from hygiene products to electrical products,” according to IDF spokesman Avital Leibovich. “We are hospitalizing people from Gaza inside Israel. All the humanitarian aid is being given including nine thousand tons of building materials.”

The flotilla was planning to arrive at Gaza Friday night, but activists ran into problems. Three of the eight boats suffered mechanic problems, and Cyprus officials refused to allow activists to board them.

A flotilla spokesman stated Saturday, “We were forced to take our MPs and activists to Famagusta yesterday, on the Turkish/Cypriot side of Cyprus. We spent all day going from one port to the next, surrounded by helicopters and police. Clearly our deal with Cyprus officials had fallen through, and we ended up being pawns in a political soap opera….

Then our two passenger boats mysteriously had mechanical problems at the same time.”  

The launching ceremony for the flotilla was attended by several anti-Semitic Islamist extremists in Istanbul, including Mahmad Tzoalha and Sahar Albirawi, both top Hamas terrorists who today operate in Great Britain, and Hamam Said, a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, some of whom spoke there. Sheikh Raid Salah, head of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, who has been accused of dealings with foreign agents was there as well and Israeli MK Hanin Zoabi of the radical Balad party is on the flotilla, leading to calls for her impeachment.

De facto Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh stated, "If the ships reach Gaza, it's a victory for Gaza. If they are intercepted and terrorized by the Zionists, it will be a victory for Gaza, too.”

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon maintained, "We will not let this flotilla get through. It harms Israeli security."