Israeli army preparing to block another Gaza flotilla. (TOI).
The Israeli military is monitoring a blockade-busting flotilla on its way to the Gaza Strip and is preparing to block it if need be, Channel 2 news reported Sunday night.
The convoy, consisting of several small vessels, was expected to sail from Greece to Gaza in the coming days, carrying humanitarian supplies for the Hamas-controlled enclave.
Jewish Home leader and Education Minister Naftali Bennett said Sunday night the flotilla was another indication of the failure of the 2005 Israeli pullout from Gaza, saying in a statement: “Ten years after the disengagement rockets are fired at our children from [the evacuated settlements of] Gush Katif, tunnels are dug towards our communities from Gaza and terror flotillas are sent to our shores from Turkey…we evacuated Jews and got flotillas in return.”
The Marianne of Gothenburg, a Scandinavian fishing boat, traveled from Sweden through the waters of Norway, Germany, France, Spain and Portugal before reaching Messina, Italy, last week. The boat was making its way to Crete, Greece, on Sunday, before attempting to breach the blockade and reach Gaza. Along the way it was to meet up with at least two other boats that make up the flotilla.
The activists say the vessels are carrying a cargo of solar panels and medical supplies for Gaza residents, who are still recovering from last summer’s conflict, and expect to reach the Strip by the end of the month, unless they are intercepted.
An Israeli-Arab Knesset member caused an uproar in parliament Sunday when he announced intentions to join the flotilla. Politicians from both the left and right condemned MK Basel Ghattas of the Joint (Arab) List, who sent a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon telling them of his plan.
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) criticized Ghattas for abusing the immunity he enjoys as a member of the Israeli parliament.
“It indicates he is serving the enemy under parliamentary immunity,” she said. “In contrast to the picture that the Palestinians are trying to paint, Israel allows goods, food, and construction materials into Gaza. The flotilla is the fruit of the efforts of provocateurs who only want to blacken Israel’s name.”
The Zionist Union party slammed Ghattas for disguising a political statement as a relief effort.
Ghattas urged Israeli leaders to let the boats reach the Palestinian coastal enclave — or face international backlash. Read the full story here.
IDF has been instructed to stop the pro-Palestinian flotilla, which has sailed out and is now between Italy and Greece, headed towards Gaza.— Israel News Feed (@IsraelHatzolah) June 22, 2015