Israel Catches Ship Activists in Blockaded Gaza Waters

Israel Catches Ship Activists in Blockaded Gaza WatersAn Israeli military ship intercepted a Norwegian-flagged ship with activists in Gaza waters. These activists intend to break the blockade in the Gaza Strip imposed by Israel more than a decade ago.

“The activity ended without an extraordinary event,” the statement said the Israeli military as reported by AFP on Monday (7/30/2018). “At the moment, the ship was taken to the port of Ashdod,” added the Israeli military, referring to the coast of Israel.

In a separate statement, a group of activists named Al-Awda said there were at least 22 people on board carrying a cargo of medical supplies.

Spoken by the Freedom Flotilla Coalition, another ship, the Swedish-flagged vessel named ‘Freedom’, from the same group of activists is expected to arrive in the same area in the next few days.

The Freedom Flotilla Coalition added that as many as four ships sailed from Scandinavia and stopped at as many as 28 ports along the cruise line. Two ships were reportedly left behind in Palermo, Sicily, Italy.

Shortly before Al-Awda was intercepted, the Freedom Flotilla Coalition released a statement calling the Israeli military a warning.

“The Israeli Navy claims our vessels violate international law and threaten that they will use ‘every necessary step’ to stop us,” the Freedom Flotilla Coalition said.

“In fact, the only ‘necessary step’ is to end the Gaza blockade and restore freedom of movement for all Palestinians,” the statement said.

In a statement via Twitter after the interception occurred, Freedom Flotilla Coalition called their ship ‘hijacked by Israeli troops’.

Since 2008, it is known that Israel has been involved three times in a war with Palestinian militants in Gaza. Israel insists that a blockade on Gaza is necessary to prevent local militants from obtaining weapons or materials that could be used for military purposes.

United Nations (UN) officials and human rights activists are calling on Israel to block the Gaza siege. The call is based on the worsening humanitarian conditions in Gaza in recent times.

Attempts to break the 2010 Gaza blockade led to disaster. Israeli commandos killed 9 Turkish activists while raided ships trying to reach Gaza. The incident triggered Turkish anger which then severed ties until 2016.