Gaza Fleet – Yet Another Delay

According to a statement issued yesterday by one of the organizing groups, six ships of the fleet that are currently berthed in a Greek port are having difficulties with their insurance.

Two insurance companies that cover the fleet’s vessels have pulled out of the deal, allegedly after being pressured by the Israeli Law Center. Additionally, the ‘European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza’ (ECESG) says, the Greek maritime authority inspects the fleet vessels rigorously. One of the boats – the US vessel ‘The Audacity of Hope’ – was ordered to stay in port.

As the day of departure draws closer the Israeli government is stepping up its efforts to thwart the Fleet. Lt.Col. Avital Leibovich of the Israel Defence Forces Spokesperson’s Office, said yesterday that “the IDF can and will not allow these ships to breach the lawful blockade and will use any and every peaceful method to prevent confrontations”.

At the same time Prime Minister Netanyahu threatened journalists participating in the fleet with criminal proceedings and a ten-year ban to enter Israel. This statement provoked protests from the foreign journalists in Israel and later the PM took back the threat, saying to ‘better leave them in peace’ [the journalists].

Although one boat of the fleet is already under way to Gaza – the French boat carrying six left Corsica on 25 June – it seems to be far from certain that the whole operation will take place at all.

(Sources: IHH, Haaretz, IDF; 27 June 2011)


About Johann Brandstätter

Photojournalist and documentary photographer based in Bulgaria, working mainly in the Balkans and the Middle East. Conflicts & crises, social and environmental issues, defense & military, travel, transportation.
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