News / Middle East

Israel Seizes 2 Vessels Trying to Run Gaza Blockade

In this video image released by the Israeli Defense Ministry on November 4, 2011, Israeli soldiers on several small military boats appear to board a civilian boat believed to be one of two protest boats trying to violate Israel's blockade of the Gaza Stri
In this video image released by the Israeli Defense Ministry on November 4, 2011, Israeli soldiers on several small military boats appear to board a civilian boat believed to be one of two protest boats trying to violate Israel's blockade of the Gaza Stri

The Israeli Navy has seized two pro-Palestinian activist ships in international waters, as they were trying to break Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Two boats carrying 27 pro-Palestinian activists tried to run Israel's blockade on Gaza, when they were intercepted by Israeli gunboats on the high seas about 80 miles from their destination.

Israeli commandos boarded the vessels and the activists from nine nations surrendered peacefully. The boats were taken to an Israeli port near Gaza and the passengers will be sent back to their home countries. The ships sailed from Turkey earlier this week.

Timeline: Gaza Blockade

  • June 2007: Hamas takes control of Gaza from the Fatah movement. Israel tightens restrictions on the flow of goods into the territory, citing concerns about Hamas militants gaining access to arms. Egypt seals its border crossing.

  • January 2008: Thousands of Palestinians stream into Egypt after Hamas militants blow up a section of the border.

  • May 2010: Israeli commandos storm a Turkish-led aid flotilla. Nine pro-Palestinian activists are killed.

  • June 2010: Israel eases its land blockade of Gaza in response to international outrage over deadly raid.

  • June 2010: Egypt temporarily opens its Rafah crossing to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza.

  • May 2011: Egypt's new military rulers announce re-opening of Rafah crossing in effort to "end the divisions among Palestinians and finalize their national reconciliation." The decision, in general, allows Palestinians with passports to cross.

  • November 2011: Vessels carrying 27 pro-Palestinian activists sail from Turkey, face confrontation with Israeli navy ships

Activists say the Israeli blockade is illegal and immoral and amounts to the imprisonment of 1.4 million Palestinians in Gaza. Canadian David Heap, who was on board, said the message must get out despite the risks.

"The critical need for us is to keep challenging; and in all of that activity and all of that turmoil not forget that the Palestinians of Gaza are under blockade and don't have their freedom of movement," he said.

Israeli spokesman Yigal Palmor says Gaza is controlled by a Palestinian terror group, and therefore, the flotilla is an unnecessary provocation.

"The naval blockade is intended to prevent the terror organization Hamas from supplying itself with rockets and weapons. Any attempt to break that blockade is a cynical mockery of the plight of those innocent [Israeli] civilians who need to live with the horror of the rockets, day in-day out," he said.

The apparent end of the incident without violent confrontation is in sharp contrast to an Israeli commando raid on a Gaza aid flotilla last year in which nine Turkish activists were killed. The bloodshed sparked international outrage.

In Gaza City, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh urged the flotillas to keep coming. "Your message has been delivered whether you make it [to Gaza] or not," Haniyeh said. He added that "the siege is unjust and must end," he said.

Another Hamas official described the Israeli interception of the boats as an act of "piracy" but Israel remains resolute in enforcing the blockade.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Tunnel Bombs Highlight Savagery of Aleppo Fight

Rebels have used tunneling tactic near government buildings, command posts or supply routes to set off explosives; they detonated their largest bomb this week under Syria's intelligence headquarters More

Sierra Leone Launches New Initiative to Stop Ebola Spread

Government hopes Infection and Prevention Control Units, IPC, will help protect patients and healthcare workers More

UN Official: Fight Against Terrorism Must Not Violate Human Rights

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says efforts by states to combat terrorism are resulting in large scale rights violations against the very citizens they claim to defend More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960s Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More