News / Middle East

Israel Warns Activists on Gaza Flotilla

An activist holds a placard during a news conference regarding preparations of a flotilla, which is due to set sail to Gaza from Greece, in Athens, June 27, 2011
An activist holds a placard during a news conference regarding preparations of a flotilla, which is due to set sail to Gaza from Greece, in Athens, June 27, 2011

Israel is warning activists as an international aid flotilla is poised to sail for the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, defying Israel's sea blockade of the Palestinian territory.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman says participants in an aid flotilla hoping to break Israel's naval blockade on Gaza include what he called a "hard core of terror activists."

Lieberman told Israel Radio that the activists are planning "to create a provocation and are looking for confrontation and blood."

A violent scenario could unfold if Israel carries out its threat to intercept the flotilla, which could set sail this week from European ports. The Israeli military says it has information that some activists plan to attack naval commandos with acid and lethal chemicals if they board the ships.

Akram Bader, a Palestinian spokesman for the flotilla, says that is nonsense.

“The activists on board have repeated that they’re non-violent unarmed activists," said Bader.  "At all the port authorities the boats will be inspected. They will be carrying no weapons; there are no chemicals whatsoever on board any of the ships.”

Israel says it hopes to avoid a repeat of a botched commando raid on a Gaza flotilla a year ago, which left nine pro-Palestinian activists dead and sparked international outrage.

Israel says the continuing blockade is necessary to keep weapons from reaching the Palestinian militant group Hamas that rules Gaza. It says the ships can dock in Israeli or Egyptian ports and their cargo can be transferred to Gaza legally over land.

But flotilla organizers say the sea blockade of humanitarian aid, basic staples and medicine is illegal and immoral.

It is still not clear when the flotilla, with 10 boats and hundreds of people escorting two cargo vessels, will set sail for Gaza. Passengers in the flotilla are expected to include journalists, politicians, writers and religious figures.

The United States and United Nations have urged flotilla organizers to use established channels to deliver aid to Gaza, drawing an angry response from Palestinian officials and flotilla organizers.

The flotilla has been delayed by administrative problems at Greek ports that activists blame on Israeli diplomatic pressure. In the latest delay, Scandinavian activists say their boat was sabotaged by professional divers and is undergoing repairs.

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

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

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