Jun 20 2010
Lebanon and Egypt’s prime ministers slammed Israel over warnings against an all-women Lebanese aid ship that aims to break the Gaza blockade.
France 24 “The Israeli government continues to threaten Lebanon,” Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri said in response to a question at a news conference with the visiting Egytian premier, Ahmed Nazif. “There are fleets coming from Europe,” he added. “Will the Israeli defence minister attack Europe or other countries sending aid to Gaza?” (Gladly)
A group of Lebanese women activists joined by Europeans and journalists are planning to sail for Gaza on a ship — christened “Mariam” in honour of the Virgin Mary — in the latest bid to break Israel’s four-year blockade of the Hamas-ruled territory.
For his part, Nazif warned that an Israeli attack on the women’s ships “might have dire consequences as we saw with the Turkish Freedom flotilla.” “The region is facing a crossroads between the will for peace, which all Arab states voice and the international community supports, and Israel’s reluctance and intransigence,” Nazif said.
The plans for a women-only operation comes as Israel faces an international backlash over its deadly May 31 seizure of a six-ship aid flotilla bound for Gaza, in which nine Turkish activists were shot dead by naval commandos.
Earlier Thursday, Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak warned Lebanon it would be responsible for any “violent and dangerous confrontation.”
Israel Today Dubbed the “Mariam” in honor of the Virgin Mary, the ship will carry 50 women, most of them Christian and the rest Muslim, along with cancer medication. Many of the women are also suffering from cancer. (Good, maybe Israel will put them out of their misery)
The ship’s leader, Samar Alhaj, told the Nazareth-based Israeli Arab radio station Radio A-Shams that using women in such a way is “the new secret weapon” against what she described as “the thieving enemy.”
Alhaj insisted that the Israel, which has warned it will not allow the ship to reach Gaza, will use unprovoked violence against the female crew. When Israel intercepted a five-ship flotilla from Turkey earlier this month, the boarding party was forced to resort to deadly force against the crew of the largest ship, the Mavi Marmara. However, the other four ships were seized and redirected to Israel without violence, as their crews did not attack the Israelis.
The Lebanese ship is being sponsored by terrorist group Hizballah. The group’s leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, personally tasked Alhaj with leading the mission. Alhaj is the well-known wife of a Lebanese security officer believed to have participated in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, who was an opponent of Hizballah and the group’s Syrian allies.
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gabriela Shalev sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noting that Israel will intercept the ship, and that if the international community wants to avoid the possibility of another loaded confrontation, it should preempt the provocative flotilla.