The Scandinavian aid ship, Marianne, has approached the coasts of Portugal on its way to break a nine-year blockade on the Gaza Strip that has long devastated the Palestinian lands.
The ship set sail on May 10, which makes it the third Flotilla, along with other boats from Greece, Norway, Italy, Canada, South Africa, Spain and Turkey to form the third Freedom Flotilla since 2010 in an attempt to bring humanitarian aid to the Palestinian territory and break the nine-year long siege imposed by Egypt and Israel.
Moncef Marzouki, Tunisia’s former president, is expected to join the flotilla, which will arrive in Gaza by the last week of June.
The blockade on the Gaza strip enforced restrictions over the land and ports of the strip, the movements of people and goods from and to the Gaza strip was never easy and became extra rare in time, Gaza is now home to over 1.7 million Palestinians
The ship arrived in Lisbon, Portugal on Wednesday, docking for two weeks in Lisbon port.
Activists aboard Marianne include Danish and Norwegian members of parliament, and they plan to hold cultural shows and screen a documentary on the Mavi Marmara in Lisbon.
Mavi Marmara is a Turkish boat that was part of the the first major attempt to reach Gaza shores in May 2010. The Israeli military raided the ship in international waters, killing nine activists and injuring dozens others.
According to the Jerusalem Post, Israel stated that it would not allow unauthorised ships to enter Israeli territorial waters, in a response to the announcement made by the Marianne shipe administration. Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon called the flotilla an "unnecessary provocation."
"If the so-called helpful Gaza flotillas were really interested in the welfare of the population in Gaza, they would send their aid via Israel," Nachshon added.