Saturday, August 15, 2020

Freedom Flotilla III intercepted by Israeli navy

By Zuzana Brezinová - June 29, 2015
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Gaza Blockade] [Freedom Flotilla] [Israeli army]

 Israeli naval forces seized the Freedom Flotilla III’s Swedish vessel, Marianne, with Basel Ghattas, an Arab Israeli MK for the Joint List, and Moncef Marzouki, the former Tunisian president, on board at 5 a.m. local time, Monday. An  Israeli army spokesman described the incident as “uneventful” and “in accordance with international law”. Members of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition, on the other hand, see the seizure as an “act of state piracy in international waters” and “a worrying sign” of the Occupation’s continuous impunity.

“It is disappointing that the Israeli government chose to continue the absolutely fruitless policy of 'no tolerance’, meaning it will continue to enforce an inhumane and illegal collective punishment against 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza,” the Freedom Flotilla Coalition said in a statement published this morning.


However, according to the Israeli PM, there is no such collective punishment, or Israeli siege on Gaza. “Israel assists in transferring goods and humanitarian equipment to Gaza – approximately 800 trucks a day that have recently brought into Gaza more than 1.6 million tons of goods,” said Prime Minster Netanyahu.


Based on a recent UNDP report, 72 percent of Gazans are food insecure and 47 percent suffer from unemployment. The Israeli military campaign in Gaza last year dubbed Operation Protective Edge left the besieged strip’s economy and infrastructure in catastrophic state and Israeli-imposed restrictions on goods, services and labour mobility only further deepen the crisis.


The Freedom Flotilla was to break the blockade, ease the crisis and deliver what they called “the cargo of dignity and hope” to over 80 percent of Gazans who depend on humanitarian aid to secure their basic needs.


Nonetheless, Netanyahu said that this is “nothing but a demonstration of hypocrisy and lies”, for the flotilla “is only assisting the Hamas terrorist organisation and ignores all the horrors in the region.”


Likewise, the Israeli Defence Minister, Moshe Ya’alon told Haaretz that “this flotilla does not have humanitarian intentions, and is not interested in anyone’s welfare. The participants’ goal is to continue de-legitimising the State of Israel and smuggle in weapons in order to use them against Israel and its civilians.”


According to the IDF’s spokesperson, the Swedish vessel was intercepted and searched by Israeli Naval forces after it had been “advised several times to change course” and repeatedly refused. Israeli Navy redirected the boat towards Ashdod port where all of its 20 passengers will be interrogated and subsequently deported from Israel via Ben Gurion airport.


During a press conference this morning, Mazen Kahel, The President of the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza (ECESG), demanded an immediate release of all the passengers on board of Marianne, who were detained by Israeli Naval commandos.


Kahel also warned against “inhuman and indecent treatment” of the former Tunisian president, Moncef Marzouki, at the hand of Israeli authorities, and said that “the Occupation holds complete responsibility for [his] well-being”.


Despite its third failure to reach Gaza within five years, the Freedom Flotilla Coalition is determined to “continue to respond and react to this injustice” and calls on “all civil society organisation and people all over the world” to do the same “until the port of Gaza is open and the siege and occupation is ended,” as stated in its latest press release.




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