Israel Threatens Free Gaza Aid Ship in International Waters
Meanwhile, a ship trying to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza from Cyprus has been threatened by Israeli violence in international waters. The sailing is the Free Gaza movement’s first since it aborted an attempt in January after the Israeli navy threatened to shoot the civilian passengers on board. That sailing had come just weeks after an Israeli navy vessel deliberately rammed another of its boats, almost forcing it to sink. Before it left Cyprus on Monday, Free Gaza movement founder Huwaida Arraf said her group is undeterred.
Huwaida Arraf: “We do not constitute any threat to Israel’s security, and that we just want to get to the people of Gaza. And so, if they attack us, which they have threatened to do on previous occasions, and even this time they have informed the Cypriot authorities that they will not let us enter, then we hope it’s clear to the international community that this is a deliberate attack, and we hope it also opens their eyes to the policies of Israel, which have nothing to do with security. It has to do with punishing an entire population, and we just can’t accept this.”
The sailing comes as the International Committee of the Red Cross has criticized the Israeli blockade of Gaza. On Monday, the Red Cross said Israel’s restrictions are crippling reconstruction efforts.