Jul 1 2009
The ISRAELI NAVY overnight boarded and seized a ship carrying pro-Palestinian activists, including nutcase former US congresswoman Cynthia McKinney that was heading to the Gaza Strip in defiance of Israel’s blockade.
01 July 2009 “In the last hour an Israeli navy force intercepted, boarded and took control of the cargo boatArion … as it was illegally attempting to enter the Gaza Strip,” the spokesman said. The military said the ship, which was sailing under a Greek flag, was the same vessel known as the Spirit of Humanity, which was sailing to Gaza to protest the Israeli blockade on the Hamas-ruled territory.
The spokesman said the navy had been contacting the boat since yesterday and warned that it would not be allowed to enter Gazan waters “because of security risks and an existing naval blockade”. After the navy boarded the converted ferry it towed the vessel toward the nearby Israeli port of Ashdod, the spokesman said, adding that the activists on board would be handed over to authorities.
He said no shots were fired during the incident. (Too bad)
The boat was sent by the US-based Free Gaza Movement, which said it was carrying a “symbolic” cargo of humanitarian aid to pressure governments and international relief groups to do more to rebuild Gaza.
On December 30, shortly after the Gaza war erupted, an Israeli navy vessel collided with a Free Gaza boat, almost sinking it, in what activists called a “deliberate ramming.” Earlier today, the Free Gaza movement said that Israeli warships had surrounded the Spirit of Humanity and threatened to open fire if it did not turn around. (PROMISES, PROMISES)
The Israeli foreign ministry said the boat’s owners had lied before departure from Cyprus about the vessel’s destination, saying it was bound for Port Said in Egypt. The ministry also said that under the 1993 autonomy accords struck with the Palestinians, Gaza’s territorial waters, like its land borders, were Israel’s responsibility.
Former US congresswomen Cynthia McKinney, who punched a D.C. cop in the face Story here,
One of 21 activists aboard the Spirit of Humanity, expressed outrage. “We demand that the Israeli government call off their attack dogs,” the Free Gaza Movement quoted her as saying a few hours before the vessel was intercepted. NEWS AU
Mark Regev, spokesman for Israeli prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said, “Israel everyday is allowing humanitarian support to reach the people of Gaza, food stuffs, medicines, energy and so forth.” “This boat was not about that, this boat was about political activists who have been apologists for the Hamas regime,” Mr Regev said.
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