Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) While the
aftermath of Israel’s apology to Turkey for the Mavi Marmara incident continues
to unfold, a pro-Palestinian group says its activists will soon stage a
provocation aimed at ending the Israeli naval blockade on the Gaza Strip.
But unlike past attempts in which activists, including the May 2010 Turkish flotilla militans, tried to enter the Gaza Strip from international waters, this time activists will try to draw attention to the Palestinian cause by defying Israeli restrictions which prevent Gazans from fishing more than three nautical miles off the Gazan shore.
The Gaza’s Ark Flotilla Freedom Coalition’s effort will include both Palestinians and internationals.
“Gaza’s Ark is the evolution of the flotilla movement. We’ve moved away from sailing into Gaza with aid. We now focus on sailing trade out, because it’s quite clear that if the Palestinians were able to trade, their dependence on aid would be diminished quite significantly,” Michael Coleman, a member of Free Gaza Australia and the steering committee for Gaza’s Ark, told the Inter Press Service on Wednesday.
Israel implemented a naval blockade over the Gaza Strip after the area was taken over by the Islamist terrorist group Hamas in 2007 (although it officially announced the measure only in 2009). Israel says it is acting in self-defense to prevent Hamas from acquiring weapons, and the United Nations has deemed the blockade legal.