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“We understand from press reports that private citizens have assembled a number of ships carrying material intended for Gaza and will seek to deliver these materials directly by sea to Gaza,” UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said in a statement. “We strongly urge that all involved act with a sense of care and responsibility and work for a satisfactory resolution,” he added.
“We have the right to sail from international waters into the waters of Gaza,” said Greta Berlin, one of the flotilla’s organizers. “The only illegal presence in the area is Israel,” she told AFP, adding the “Freedom Flotilla” was on schedule to arrive in the Palestinian enclave on Saturday with more than 10,000 tonnes of building and other supplies.
HAIFA, Israel — Israeli gunships headed out to sea on Friday to stop a flotilla of pro-Palestinian activists from reaching the Gaza Strip, the military said, setting the stage for what could become a dramatic showdown on the high seas.
Israel's foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, said the country was prepared to stop the flotilla "at any cost." He called the aid mission a provocation and urged the international community to show understanding for the tough response.
"We really have all determination and political will to prevent this provocation against us," he said. "I think that we're ready at any cost ... to prevent this provocation."
Military officials said an initial group of gunships went out to sea Friday to prepare for the flotilla's arrival. But plans to dispatch additional gunships were put on hold late Friday after reports that the flotilla had encountered mechanical problems, military officials said.
The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity under military guidelines, said the gunships would remain in port until the flotilla got closer.
The military says it will intercept the ships, escort the vessels to shore and give the activists the choice of deportation or going to jail.
Sommer-Houdeville said that the Cyprus authorities had briefly detained the captians of the boats that were aiming to take the politicians on board on Friday night. He said that the captains were later released.
The flotilla organisers have said that Cypriot officials have not fulfilled a pledge to let the boats sail from its waters. The activists have alleged that Israeli pressure has swayed the authorities.
Originally posted by Peruvianmonk
reply to post by princeofpeace
For someone who calls themself a princeofpeace you have a poor understanding of what peace is.
Peace is not crushing a group of people in to the ground until they have no hope left.
Originally posted by Silcone Synapse
How any country can think it is acceptable to prevent food and medical supplies getting to a starving sick population is beyond my comprehension.
Unless I entertain the idea that the intended result is the slow death by starvation and disease of such a population.
The UN should have been sent in years ago-Its not up to israel to say who lives and dies in Gaza IMO.
Imagine if Saddam had done the same to his neighbors-the west would have called it attempted genocide.
But of course we are not allowed to say that about our "friend" israel.
Tweet sent at about 9AM Eastern from the Freedom Flotilla which had been held up off Cyprus until today.
They left a half hour ago. They are on their way. Will arrive outside the waters of Gaza in 18 hours.
On Board the Mavi Marmara: Six hours after the Freedom Flotilla departure, three Israeli missile boats left their naval base in the northern coastal city of Haifa on a mission to intercept the flotilla, reporters on board one of the vessels said before being told to turn off their phones.
Huwaida Arraf, one of the flotilla organizers, said the six-ship flotilla began the journey from international waters off the coast of Cyprus Sunday afternoon after two days of delays. According to organizers, the flotilla was expected to reach Gaza, about 250 miles (400 kilometers) away, on Monday afternoon, and two more ships would follow in a second wave.
Al Jazeera, reporting live from the Freedom Flotilla at 6.30PM Eastern (1.30AM local Monday) said that after having been approached by Israeli navy ships several hours earlier, the flotilla has changed course in order to avoid a confrontation during the hours of darkness. The flotilla’s movements are being monitored by warships and aircraft — observers from the flotilla were not able to tell whether the distant aircraft was a helicopter of a drone.