Sail preparations finished for Gaza freedom flotilla

Former president of Tunisia Al Marzouki and European activists gather in Greece to join Gaza convoy that intends to break Israel’s siege on Gaza

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The third Gaza freedom flotilla will set the sails and voyage through the seas towards Gaza, in an effort to break Israel’s siege on Gaza, the Palestinian Information Centre said on Monday.

Despite Israeli threats to block off the flotilla, head of the miles and smiles convoy, Dr Issam Youssef said the freedom flotilla will voyage to Gaza passing through Vienna.

Dr Youssef advised the International community to protect the flotilla from any Israeli attacks and take responsibility for the peaceful convoy.

Former president of Tunisia Al Marzouki and tens of Arab and European activists have gathered in Greece to participate in the convoy and support its efforts.

The Gaza flotilla, created by an international coalition called the Free Gaza Movement, was attacked by the Israeli navy in international waters on May 31, 2010 as it attempted to break Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Nine Turkish activists were killed on board the flotilla and 30 other people were injured. One of the injured activists died nearly four years after being critically injured on board the flotilla.

The attack raised tension between Turkey and Israel, leading Turkey to recall its ambassador in Tel Aviv.

The tense relations were relatively eased after Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu apologised to Turkey in 2013 over the attack, but the issue of compensation to be paid the families of the victims has not been resolved between the two countries.

The Gaza Strip came under blockade by Israel and Egypt in 2007 after Hamas came to power in the enclave. The 1.8 million inhabitants of Gaza, have been deprived of many of their most basic needs under the blockade.

During Israel's 51-day Operation Protective Edge between July and August of 2014, countless air raids and ground incursions by Israeli troops into Gaza completely destroyed the infrastructure, killing more than 2,100 Palestinians and injuring 11,000 others - mostly civilians.

In a recent development, an appeal of the Turkish NGO  Humanitarian Relief Foundation’s (IHH) lawyers to the International Criminal Court (ICC) against the previous decision by court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda not to pursue the case which demands the court prosecute Israel’s raid on the Mavi Marmara and the Gaza flotilla, and the country’s subsequent actions, was accepted by the ICC on May 7.

The Pre-Chamber of the ICC will hear testimony from the relatives and attorneys of those who were injured and killed, and this could pave the way for the international prosecution of Israeli actions during the raid.

There have been two international probes into the incident. The first inquiry was the UN Human Rights Council Fact Finding Mission (UNHRC) report which found that the Israeli actions were “disproportionate” and “betrayed an unacceptable level of brutality," and displayed “willful killing."

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also undertook another investigation called the Palmer Report which concluded the Israeli actions on the Mavi Marmara were "excessive and unreasonable.”


TRTWorld and agencies