Gaza blockade must be lifted IHH says

Owner NGO of Mavi Marmara ship which came under attack by Israeli Navy while trying to break Gaza blockade says their stance has not change, has demanded Israel lift blockade from Gaza

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

The Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) said on late Thursday that their stance on the Gaza blockade and the Mavi Marmara incident has not changed, as reconciliation talks continue between Turkey and Israel.

Mavi Marmara was a passenger ship owned by the IHH, a Turkish NGO, and was one of the six civilian ships in a flotilla which was attacked by the Israeli Navy in international waters as it attempted to break Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip on May 31, 2010.

The incident, in which 10 Turkish citizens were killed on board and 30 other people were injured, caused the break down of relations between Turkey and Israel.

“IHH's stance on the Gaza blockade and the Mavi Marmara incident has not changed,” said the NGO on its social media account.

“The Gaza blockade must be lifted and we will continue our struggle until it has been lifted,” it said.  

The statement comes hours after Turkish officials announced that officials of both Turkey and Israel had met in Switzerland where a preliminary reconciliation deal was set to be reached.

The unnamed Turkish officials said the sides have not yet reached an agreement, but the efforts to normalise relations are continuing.

Turkey have long been demanding Israel to apologize to Turkey for the Mavi Marmara incident, compensate the victims of the flotilla, and lift the blockade from Gaza, as the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has insisted.  

“They apologised for Mavi Marmara. However, the last two demands have not been fulfilled,” said Erdogan last week.

The lifting of the blockade is also one of the leading demands by the IHH from the Israeli authorities.

“Embargo and a blockade are not the same thing.  The issue is not an embargo issue but a blockade,” it said.

“Embargo is to stop a flow of goods coming in from the Israeli side, whereas this blockade which is enforced from land and sea is not only an invasion of Gaza but also one of Mediterranean Sea.”