An Irish group involved in an aid flotilla to Gaza has said it is concerned about the impartiality of an investigation into how their boat was damaged at a port in Turkey last week.
Campaigners claim the M.V. Saoirse was sabotaged by Israeli operatives.
The captain of another boat, also bound for Gaza, was last night arrested in Greece and faces charges of trying to leave port without permission and endangering the lives of passengers.
Laurence Davis of the Irish Ship To Gaza campaign said the group was calling for an independent investigation of the incident of "apparent sabotage which put the Irish passengers' lives in danger".
He added that in the context of Turkish-Israeli negotiations "it would be far from politically expedient to declare that Israeli operatives had attacked an Irish boat in Turkish waters", and that therefore an independent investigation was required. more
The organizers of the Gaza-bound flotilla said Sunday that all operational ships will set sail on Monday, despite the numerous delays the flotilla activists had encountered in the past week.
The decision to depart on Monday was made following several days of deliberations on the subject, and the exact number of ships due to sail is still unknown.
In contrast to recent reports, most of the Gaza flotilla activists are still participating.
Moreover, activists in several countries of origin of the ships participating in the flotilla such as Canada and Belgium held protests in support of the Gaza flotilla and against the Greek government, which had issued an order to bar the ships from leaving Greek ports.
Eight of the ten ships due to participate in the Gaza flotilla were delayed over the weekend in various Greek ports, following an order by the Greek government to bar the departure of the vessels.
The activists as well as members of the leftist opposition in Greece accused the Socialist government of caving in to Israeli pressure. Greek Foreign Minister Stavros Lambrinidis said that the Greek government is preventing the departure of the vessels in order to avoid a ‘humanitarian disaster’ which will result from a violent confrontation with the Israeli navy.
The foreign minister also promised that he will continue to negotiate with the UN in order to find a solution to the flotilla crisis.
The Greek ban applies to all Greek and foreign vessels in Greek ports heading to Gaza.
The organizers of the flotilla were considering legal action to cancel the Greek ban on the departure of the ships. They were also trying to rally members of leftist parties in various countries and the European Parliament to convince the Greek government to change the orders. more