Friday, 21 May 2010

Freedom Flotilla asembles in Cyprus ready to break Gaza siege

What will Israel do when the flotilla of at least nine ships sets off from Cyprus next Thursday to break the siege? At a meeting with Ambassadors from several European nations they vowed to stop the flotilla reaching Gaza. Will they they impound all the aid ships and the activists and dignitaries onboard? Whatever they do, another PR disaster looms for Israel.
The IDF is gearing up to stop a flotilla of aid ships that is directed at breaking the blockade on the Gaza Strip next week.

Two ships, one named for international activist Rachel Corrie who was killed in Gaza in 2003, sailed from Ireland to Cyprus where they will join another seven boats scheduled to set sail for Gaza next Thursday.

The ships will carry hundreds of international peace activists as well as some 10,000 tons of construction material, medical equipment and school supplies. While the Free Gaza movement claims that the flotilla is needed to provide Palestinians in Gaza with basic supplies, the IDF pointed out on Tuesday that it had, in the past week, allowed over 14,000 tons of supplies into the Gaza Strip.

On Monday night, Foreign Ministry officials met with ambassadors from Turkey, Greece, Ireland and Sweden and informed them that theships would be stopped on their way to the Gaza Strip. Defense Minister Ehud Barak has instructed the Navy to prepare for the operation, which due to the large number of vessels will require the participation of a large naval force. more

Israel halts mail, bombs northern Gaza while Hamas and Fatah reconciliation moves closer

Without any explanation Israel has stopped the flow of mail between Gaza and the West Bank. Only the US-owned courier service DHL now has a permit to operate.

Israel launched air strikes today apparently in response to a rocket launched by Ansar al Sunna yesterday. No injuries have been reported.

In a sign of thawing relations between Fatah and Hamas, prisoners held by both sides were released on Thursday. Israel also released a Hamas MP:
Meanwhile, Israel released on Thursday a Hamas lawmaker based in Jerusalem after he spent 43 months in detention, his lawyer said.

Mohammed Abu Tair was arrested in 2006 in response to a Hamas- led raid in which an Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was captured and taken hostage in Gaza. more
The move follows the Nakba rally (May 15) in Gaza last Saturday at which both sides participated.