Sunday July 29, 2018
Israel has intercepted a ship bringing humanitarian aid to Gaza on the grounds it was breaking international law. Activists countered that Israel had simply hijacked a ship full of medical supplies.
The Israeli navy said on Sunday that it had stopped a ship of activists trying to break its blockade of the Gaza Strip. The Al-Awda ship was rerouted to the nearby city of Ashdod.
vessel was carrying 22 people from 16 countries and bore a Norwegian
flag. The navy said it informed the passengers that they were "violating
the legal naval blockade," and that if they had humanitarian aid to
deliver, there were other ways to get it to Gaza.
Activists: Israel 'hijacked' vessel
But the Freedom Flotilla Coalition, a charity umbrella group, wrote on Twitter that Israeli forces had "hijacked" the ship. "The
Israeli navy claims our ship is breaking international law and
threatens that they will use 'any measures necessary' to stop us," it
"In fact, the only 'necessary measures' would be to end the
blockade of Gaza and restore freedom of movement for all Palestinians."
group argued that the supplies the activists had with them were a
"small but important contribution to the increasingly dire medical
situation" in Gaza.
Gaza's 2 million inhabitants have been living under the blockade since 2007, when the militant group Hamas took over the area. Assisted by Egypt, Israel says the move is necessary to prevent Hamas from arming.
have tried to break through several times, the most well known of which
was a 2010 attempt that left nine Turks dead at the hands of Israeli
naval commandos. Israel said that this time, the ship was intercepted
This time, the Freedom Flotilla Coalition said
most of the activists were European, but also came from Malaysia, the
US, and Israel.