Defiant pro-Palestinian activists are pressing ahead with a David and Goliath style plan to break the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip. The flotilla of eight ships has already set sail and includes four cargo ships, a privately-chartered Turkish passenger ferry and 600 people.
It has been organised by the Free Gaza Movement, which says it is vital humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza. But first the vessels will have to get past the Israeli Navy, which plans to intercept the convoy and confiscate the cargo.
Activists face being detained or arrested.
“The Israeli Defence Force is following the government’s order to prevent the entrance of this provocative flotilla into the shores of Israel,” said Israeli military spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Avital Leibovich.
“We have no problem whatsoever if those goods were sent the usual way to the Ashdod port and we will pass it over to the Gazans after taking care of all the security checks.”
Israel has dismissed the flotilla as a cheap political stunt and has rejected Turkey’s suggestion that the cargo be treated as humanitarian aid.