Report: Israel prepares to block aid convoys
May 27, (Pal Telegraph – By Sameh Habeeb) More than 700 international peace activists are aiming at arriving to within a few days by sea to the besieged Gaza Strip. According to the European campaign to End the Siege on Gaza over 10,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid and building materials are loaded on these boats. Hundred housing units are onboard and more than 500 wheelchairs for handicap children as well
According to the organizers, the key aim of this step is to ease the humanitarian crisis and plight of Gaza population. Israel has imposed a deadly siege for the past 4 years. Basics like food and primary needs are strictly getting to Gaza.
The announced purpose of the siege is to topple the Government of Hamas. However, the victims of the siege were and still the population of Gaza. More than 510 peoples died due to shortage of medicines and inability to travel for treatment abroad. Over 200 youths aged less than 30 died while digging tunnels to bring food from Egypt.
Mid of the siege, end of 2008 Israel launched a full scale attack against Gaza. The aim was to militarily bring down the Hamas government. But, the victims again were the population of Gaza. More than 1400 civilians were killed half of them were women and children. 5000 peoples were injured. More than 50.000 houses, schools, mosques, hospitals and other utilities were partially or entirely damaged. No signs that Israel will lift the siege or help to rebuild Gaza.
A number of European countries like Ireland, Sweden Greece beside Algeria, Kuwait and Turkey are sending these cargo and passengers boats. The cargo boats comprises of 9 sea-vehicles that mostly include all kind of needed aid in Gaza.
Mairead Maguire,Nobel Peace Laureate is on board this time. She has made it to Gaza a few times ago through the boats of Free Gaza Organization. Maguire spoke about her last experience in Gaza, “The children of Gaza are the ones who suffer most. During my visit to Gaza in October, 2008 I went to visit the area of Khankhounis. In all my years of visiting areas of poverty and devastation, I have never witnessed anything so terrible. The area had been hit by floods which had washed away the roads forming a river which flooded the houses, of many hundreds of people, with mud. We walked through home after home completely destroyed and yet some families made vain attempts to salvage what they could and live in the midst of this horrific destruction.”
Speaking on behalf of the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Dr Fintan Lane (IPSC Media Officer and a 'Freedom Flotilla' participant) said: "The siege of Gaza has created a humanitarian and political crisis that cannot be ignored. We are determined to break Israel's blockade and will not be intimidated. The people of Gaza have a right to access to the outside world and the right to determine their own future."
The Israeli government rejects radically allowing the boats into Gaza. Israeli government claims that there is no siege on Gaza. However, reports from UNRWA, Amnesty, Human Rights organizations and other aid organizations confirm that Gaza is in direful crisis.
Israeli government formed a special committee from the cabinet in plans to capture the humanitarian sea convoy. Detention centers have been prepared on Port of Ashdod.
Israel is accusing Turkey of leading this movement as part of its regional greediness. Alex Fishman, military commentator of "Yediot Aharonot" who is an unofficial spokesperson for the Israeli Army, says today that this is not really a continuation of the earlier Gaza boats; this is a Turkish plot to open a regular shipping line to Gaza and deprive Israel and Egypt of the monopoly of controlling access to Gaza. If this flotilla is let through, Israel might as well give up the siege altogether. "This is not about 500 wheelchairs to Gaza; this is about the effective re-establishment of Turkish Imperial Power".
Possible diplomatic confrontation between Israel and turkey might take place as Israel announced officially its plans to storm these boats.
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