Mystery Faults Delay Gaza Flotilla
Confrontation with the Israeli navy was delayed yesterday after faults mysteriously developed in two boats of a Gaza-bound flotilla. Furthermore, 30 pro-Palestinian activists were prevented by the Greek Cypriot government from joining the crafts.
The flotilla is considered as the biggest effort to penetrate the three-year blockade of Gaza. Now with remaining five boats, the said flotilla is carrying an estimated 10,000 tons of aid supplies and hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists.
Reports said the flotilla left Cypriot waters to travel towards Gaza yesterday, amidst warnings by the Israeli government that their efforts will be stopped, even by force if the need arises. The Israel government further stated that its navy is ready to arrest the flotilla passengers. Arrested passengers will be turned over to civilian authorities for deportation or trial.
“We will not let this flotilla to get through. It harms Israeli security,” said Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Danny Ayalon.
In Gaza, Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas said the flotilla signals the end of the blockade. Haniyeh added that if the ships reach Gaza, it meant victory for Gaza.
“If they are intercepted and terrorized by the Zionists, it will be a victory for Gaza, too, and they will move again in new ships to break the siege of Gaza,” said the Prime Minister.
According to reports by the Los Angeles Times, since Hamas took power in 2007, “Gaza has come to rely on a series of underground tunnels connecting it with Egypt to smuggle in goods ranging from weapons to motorbikes. Six Gazans were killed and 14 injured Saturday afternoon when a gas canister exploded in one of those tunnels, wounding and partially suffocating workers who were performing maintenance operations, according to Gazan security officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.”