Seven weeks after a fleet of 20 vessels with thousands of activists on board should have set sail to Gaza, one single boat, the French yacht Al-Karama carrying only eight passengers, was stopped and boarded by the Israeli navy today, 19 July.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) published a statement earlier this afternoon, saying that the Al-Karama, a French-registered motor yacht, was stopped before entering Israeli waters. After a lengthy discussion the Israeli decided to board the ship “as soon as the actions turned into a provocation.”
IDF Spokesman Brigadier General Yoav Mordechai said, that the skipper of the Al-Karama was lying about his intentions. According to General Mordechai, the boarding was peaceful, the passengers “behaved in an orderly manner” and followed the instructions of the navy sailors.
Nobody was harmed in during the action, the pro-Gaza activists received food and beverages. The yacht is now being towed into the port of Ashdod where the passengers will have to face security and immigration procedures upon arrival.
(Sources: Israel Defense Forces; 19 July 2011)