Lone boat heads to Gaza

2011-07-06 18:16

Jerusalem - A lone French yacht was on Wednesday headed for Gaza after sneaking out of Greek waters in defiance of a ban on the departure of aid ships aiming to run Israel's blockade on the coastal strip.

The MV Dignite/Al Karama, which left Greek waters early on Tuesday, is heading slowly towards Gaza, a spokesperson for the French Boat to Gaza campaign said, saying they had not yet given up hope they would be joined by others from the ill-fated Freedom Flotilla which had been due to set sail last week.

Pro-Palestinian campaigners on board a second ship, the MV Juliano, were expected to try leaving a Greek port later on Wednesday despite being turned back a day earlier, said a Swedish MP who will be joining the vessel.

Most of the 10 ships which had been due to join the naval convoy are stuck at ports in Greece after Athens imposed a blanket ban on the departure of any vessels destined for Gaza.

Another ship, the Irish-owned MV Saoirse, is currently undergoing repairs at a Turkish port after its propeller was damaged in what activists claimed was "sabotage" by Israel.

So far, only the MV Dignite, which has 12 people on board, has managed to set sail, a spokesperson for the French boat said.

Slow progress

"They're getting on very well," Thomas Sommer-Houdeville said by phone from Athens, saying the vessel had begun to move slowly towards Gaza on Tuesday afternoon after waiting for several hours in international waters to see if the Greek, Norwegian and Swedish activists on board the MV Juliano would to also manage to set sail.

"Yesterday afternoon, our Greek colleagues (on board the MV Juliano) were not able to leave, so they decided to start sailing slowly" towards Gaza, he said after speaking by phone to activists on board the Dignite.

"They are now heading for Gaza slowly so if any of the boats manage to get out, they will be able to meet up with them.

"For the time being, our desire is to go to Gaza," Sommer-Houdeville said, admitting the activists on board would later decide based on what was possible "logistically and technically".

"At the moment, we have one boat which has managed to break the Greek blockade and we are hopeful that there will be others," he said.

The Juliano activists hope to set sail from a port near Athens later on Wednesday, with the ship awaiting clearance from the Greek authorities, Maria Norden, a Social Democrat MP from Sweden, said by phone.

Ban for safety reasons

"All our on-board papers are in order, we are going to try to leave today," said Norden who is one of six passengers on the vessel.

Greek officials turned back the boat on Tuesday afternoon, she said.

Both the US Audacity of Hope and the Canadian vessel, the MV Tahrir, each of which have about 50 passengers and crew aboard, have tried to set sail since Athens imposed the ban on Friday, but were turned back.

And two of the vessels have also sustained damage, in what organisers claim was sabotage by Israeli agents.

Officials in Athens say they imposed the ban for the "safety" of the activists on board in the wake of last year's bloody showdown, when Israeli commandos raided a six-ship flotilla heading for Gaza, in a confrontation which left nine Turkish activists dead and dozens of people injured.

More than 300 activists from 22 countries had signed up to participate in this year's flotilla, among them dozens of middle-aged and elderly Americans and Europeans.

Israel has made no secret of its determination to prevent the Freedom Flotilla II from reaching Gaza, which has been under a blockade since 2006 after militants there snatched an Israeli soldier who is still being held at a secret location.

  • Cire - 2011-07-06 18:26

    Take action Israel!

      lakhan7 - 2011-07-08 16:28

      ...where's the pirates ;) , when you need them :?

  • Juliaas - 2011-07-06 18:40

    Go Israel sink those ships

  • Romans8 - 2011-07-06 19:14

    Perhaps a Eurocyclon will wipe them out and they'll have a long swim home.

  • Adam - 2011-07-06 19:41

    do u know israel offerd them free passage to deliver the "aid" at another port and they declined, they openly said this isnt about giving people aid, its about defying israel. thanks news24 for failing to report probably the most relevant part of the entire storey

      Cornix - 2011-07-06 20:47

      They have no respect for Israel, obviously, and no respect for Greek authorities either.

      mecan - 2011-07-07 06:31

      These European activists seem to forget that there is apartheid in the Arab World. No Christians are allowed to practice their religion in Saudi and much of the Arab world. End apartheid in the Arab world. We welcomed you to the west - but you refuse to welcome us to your home... Its time to put all the cards on the table. In Israel there are Churches, Mosques & Synagogues and anyone can practice their beliefs (I was there a year ago); and these activists dare to call Israel racist! A disgrace to humanity these activists are!

      ben swart - 2011-07-07 07:27

      Also in the report they say these activists are PRO-Palestinian, putting a positive spin on them. Why don't they call them ANTI-Israel activists?

      GonnyVonYuri - 2011-07-07 08:58

      Those dumb "activists" mostly american i might add (Seen on al jazeera) - little do they know if they happen to be found in gaza they would probably be murdered or beheaded just for being american! These fools are supporters of evil and dont realise it.

      TheWally - 2011-07-11 15:26

      wow Mecan, you are ignorant indeed! Did you know that the ORIGINAL church of John the Baptist is in Saudi Arabia and that the church still exists and Christians there practice there religion freely. If you stop lying for a moment then maybe you can start educating yourself with facts for a change...

  • Jaimo - 2011-07-06 20:15

    In the last 24hrs reports show: Yemen 20 demonstrators dead and Syria 22 demonstrators dead! BUT THE MEDIA (obeying their Islamic instructors) keep putting this pathetic irrelevant flotilla saga on main news as a decoy, and trying their best to stir up trouble and discredit THE SOVEREIGN STATE AND GOVERNMENT OF ISRAEL. Viva Israel, the free people of the world support you - STAND FIRM against the lies, deception and manipulation of a jihad suckered press and these misinformed scoundrels.

      Cornix - 2011-07-06 20:49

      Yes, God is with Israel.

      GonnyVonYuri - 2011-07-07 09:00

      Jaimo - yes muslim on muslim violence kills more muslims than israeli, american soldiers defending freedom. Evil religion, evil book - people educate yourselves - READ THE KORAN and the hatred that spills there and understand why the world is unsafe bcos of islam.

      The huntchback - 2011-07-13 22:02

      the same stats as last week, what afool

  • Romans8 - 2011-07-06 20:41

    The mass media always gives half of the story.

  • soutie76 - 2011-07-06 20:51

    Some people seem to love to go looking for trouble, and then being awfully surprised when they find it. The do-gooders of the world should think twice before getting involved in other countries problems - most of them have little understanding of the true situation as they have never lived there and simply swallow any propoganda hook, line and sinker. After having encountered foreigners warped opinions on SA both pro and anti the current and previous status quo, I have vowed to keep my opinions on other peoples' countries to myself unless I have first-hand knowledge of them, or at least voice my opnions diplomatially as I know I'm only repeating what I heard in some biased news report somewhere.

  • WATCHMAN - 2011-07-06 20:57

    People with a right moral standing and relationship with the true and living God, Jesus Christ will always support Israel! No weapon that is formed against Israel shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against her in judgment shalt be condemned. VIVA ISRAEL.

      GonnyVonYuri - 2011-07-07 09:01

      Personally i dont believe in an us vs them mentality - thats the mentality they use to propagate evil ....for me its good vs evil rather than christian/buddhists/jew vs so called religion of peace.

      Phantom - 2011-07-07 09:48

      True words, Watchman!

  • Monacoroyals - 2011-07-07 06:04

    Sink them! Send a message to those that hate you. Do not play games with terrorist or their western supporters – they are just in need of attention – a photo taken – something to talk about with friends when they get home.

  • BrassCopper - 2011-07-07 06:09

    They should turn that boat left - to Syria if they really care about human rights. The UN said all is well in Gaza. Gaza has one of the highest birth rates & one of the longest life expectancy in the world, not to mention the billions in aid GO TO SYRIA and/or LYBIA - they obviously hate Jews more than they want to help Muslims. Hypocrites Whatever… I agree with most of the comments here. SINK THEM!

  • mish82 - 2011-07-07 07:07

    I've never hated a Jew nor any other person because of their religion nor their race. It is their moral standing, character and their attitude towards other human life that determines if they can be considered as good or bad people. Most of the comments here are cheering on for death and the saddest part of this is that these people see nothing wrong with that. All you have to do is use your common sense, open your eyes and do not let yourself be bluffed by everything the media tells us. Do your own research. Google. Its not about Muslims against Jews. Its about right vs wrong. That is why we see so many non-muslims who do not side with Israel.Arab children have fallen victim to Israeli violence at the rate of hundreds, if not thousands, of Arab children to one Jewish child. Go ahead and research. I bet you'll will be surprised at what you'll do find.

      mecan - 2011-07-07 07:21

      By your comment you are cheering on for deaths of Israelis as the activist on the ships support Hamas (a terrorist organisation) rather then the PA (organisation with a focus for peace) and the saddest part of this is that people like you see nothing wrong with that. It’s about right vs wrong; and you are blind. Arab children have fallen victim to Hamas's violence at the rate of hundreds - as Hamas fires rockets from school yard, UN buildings and Mosques. Go ahead and research Mish. I bet you'll will be surprised at what you'll do find.

      King Solomon - 2011-07-07 08:51

      How many Muslim suicide bombers have there been and how many Christian and Jewish suicide bombers? And you talk about killing children?

      GonnyVonYuri - 2011-07-07 09:03

      mish82- i suggest you read the koran and see the hatred that spills from there - palestinians are ALLOWED to educate themselves at ISRAELI universities... sick palestinian children are treat BY ISRAELI medical experts.... Show me anywhere in the world where muslim help jews in any way!

      WATCHMAN - 2011-07-07 18:42

      mish82 - to be honest I don't believe a word you are saying. All the Arabs living in Israel were migrant workers that came from Syria, Jordan and Egypt who do not have any claim to the land. The land was not given to them, the Palestinians by the United Nations and have no right to the land nor claim to it. Besides the United Nations unanimously voting for the Jews to be given their PROMISED land back, given to them by Almighty God. THE QURAN is full of hatred to two classes of people mainly, Jews and Christians and since the Jews have been back in their land fron 1948 the Arabs of various nations have spewed their venemous intent to destroy Israel and have attempted to do so with no success, mostly because of the miraculous hand of God.

  • mish82 - 2011-07-07 10:09

    @gonnivonyuri "Rest assured that Believers (Muslims), Jews, Christians and Sabians - whoever believes in God and the Last Day and performs good deeds - will be rewarded by their Lord; they will have nothing to fear or to regret.[62] 2:[62] This is not hatred towards Jews... I suggest you read the Quran. @Mecan I do not cheer on for the deaths of any innocent people which i know exist both on the Isreali and Palestinian side. Why do you generalize and assume that because there may be like a few hundred people out of over a million in Palestine who may have negative intentions, that the rest of the innocent people must suffer and die? Where is your common sense and your humanity? Children who have died because of Hamas is very wrong. That cannot be justified. But do their actions justify the killing of children by Isreal? @King Solomon The Quran prohibits suicide. Suicide bombing, even though it may be claimed to be in the name of Islam, is not. As a muslim you are condemned to hell if you commit suicide. So where this idea comes from, it is certainly not Islamic. Again, even though these "muslim" bombers killed children, it does not make it right for Isreal to do the same thing. 2 wrongs never make a right.

      mecan - 2011-07-07 11:38

      A few hundred people out of over a million??? What are you smoking? May I remind you mish that Hamas came to power democratically! YES they won an election (it might of been the very last election they will ever see - yet it was an election nonetheless. Now, when you (the majority) elect a terror organisation into power - who’s only outcome is the destruction of Israel, then you have made your bed – now you sleep in it! Please don’t forget that Hitler too, came to power democratically. Do not get me wrong. Israel's hands are not clean, however, ask yourself the question, WHY DOES THE IDF HAVE TO STOOP SO LOW? Because Hamas forces them to do so. Hamas uses dead children as propaganda - thus they target Israeli civilians as they know very well the IDF will hit back - and hit back hard. It’s high time the Palestinians force their leaders to look at the peaceful option rather then there violent methods. Violence will lead them down the wrong path - and that is a fact. Please feel free to google Hamas charter - and their aims.

      mecan - 2011-07-07 12:40 Do me a favour and go read under "Charter" And then tell me how Israel should deal with them. Any other country in this world - who is the more powerful party in a conflict would have completely eliminated their enemy if they had a charter like this one. The US would have killed them all. Turkey would of slaughtered them like they slaughtered the Kurds etc etc.. However, because of the lessons of the holocaust - Israel could never stoop that low - although, if the tables were turned (firepower & Brains) - there would be no more Jews in the Middle East.

      Monacoroyals - 2011-07-07 14:13

      I cant believe what it says in their charter! "Calls for the eventual creation of an Islamic state in Palestine, in place of Israel and the Palestinian Territories,[41] and the obliteration or dissolution of Israel"……. "Zionists were behind a wide range of events and disasters going as far back in history as the French Revolution." LOL but yet they believe this crap - its crazy!! But most crazy is this "The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews [and kill them]; until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: Oh Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!” ISRAEL! WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? FOR THEM TO GET STRONGER OVER TIME? THEY WANT YOU DEAD! GO OUT AND FINISH THEM OFF. DONT LISTEN TO ANYONE! ITS EITHER YOU (LATER ON) OR THEM. Never thought I would ever sound like this… its metal… but if my family was at risl like this – I would kill them all – just me :(

      Phantom - 2011-07-07 14:41

      Holy Book --> Violent Scriptures --> Fundamentalists --> HAMAS --> Destroy Israel and kill as many Jews as possible.

  • mish82 - 2011-07-07 10:13

    @ gonnyVonYuri Another thing. If you are deprived of basic necessities in life like food and medical supplies, then yes you will become sick. Israel is creating the problem and then giving the solution to it. This Israeli/Palestinian issue goes much deeper than most of us are aware of and it's linked to other major agendas. Does not the Torah say that Jews are forbidden to return to the land they were expelled from...

      LexLuther - 2011-07-07 10:59

      Mish82: my problem with you and every single one of the anti-Israel posters on this story, is that you criticize Israel and you ignore all the real Muslim and Arab atrocities that go on. I have never seen you post anything when it comes to Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Bahrain, etc., etc. Today there is an article about Somalia, where people really are starving (there are no Gazans starving, and never have been). The Muslim organization Al Shabaab has up til now refused to allow food aid into southern Somalia. People are dying there. "The UN World Food Programme would not comment. It pulled out of southern Somalia in 2010 because of threats against its staff and demands by Al Shabaab of payments for security." And yet you target Israel. Why? If you target the only Jewish state in the whole Middle East and Africa region and ignore all the others, then surely the only logical conclusion is that you are prejudiced against Jews. Finally, the Gazans get everything they need from Egypt and Israel, including electricity, water, food, construction materials and medical supplies. All Israel seeks to do is limit the import of weapons into Gaza which will be used against Israel's innocent children and other civilians. But you would rather support people trying to make a political point who want this to happen, rather than give Israel the right to protects its people. So Gazan's perceived rights to receive aid are higher than Jewish people's right to life?

      LexLuther - 2011-07-07 11:04

      The Torah does not forbid Jews from their homeland. You are completely wrong about that. What it says is one day the Lord will lead the Jews back, and so some have interpreted that to mean that only the Lord should re-establish Israel, but that is only one interpretation. Also, what would you now do? Tell all Jews to leave Israel because you think the Torah commands it? Get real. Your comment is unhelpful and ignorant. Gazans are NOT deprived of anything but weapons. They are not deprived of food or medicine. That is propaganda rubbish.

      Phantom - 2011-07-07 11:29

      Agree with you, Lex. “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” – Joseph Goebbels

      Sparxi - 2011-07-07 12:39

      Ok, into the hornet's nest we go: @LexLuther: Atrocities are atrocities, whoever commits them and wherever these are committed. An atrocity in one part of the world does not diminish, negate or excuse atrocities in any other part of the world. Ever. @Mish82: Deprivation may lead illness and to desperation and for some may even provide justification for radical and violent action. But violence begets violence and it becomes immaterial at some point who started what, when, where and how. Violence does not care about the sick or the dying, it does not care about right and wrong, it simply cares about more violence. This is the cycle that needs to be broken.

      LexLuther - 2011-07-07 13:49

      At Sparxi: I agree with you, but my point is that all these anti-Israel posters NEVER comment about either the Gazans' actions, or any other Middle East or African actions, by countries like Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Morocco, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Libya or Lebanon. So if you only attack Israel, the question is why? And the answer is because you are prejudiced against the Jewish state. I'm not entering into the argument for now about whether Israel's actions in defending its people are justified, which they are, but what I am saying is that to attack Israel's actions without balance, fairness or context and to the exclusion of all others, demonstrates a prejudice and hatred against Israel, whose only differing quality is that it is a Jewish state, surrounded by Arab and Muslim states. With regards your other point, why do you think there is no trouble with the West Bank? Because the "palestinians" there don't send missiles, rockets and attempted suicide bombers from there DAILY into Israel. When Hamas in Gaza stops doing these things DAILY against Israel, recognizes its right to exist and retracts its sworn ambition to murder all Jews, then Israel can start talking to Hamas. Very simple.

  • mish82 - 2011-07-07 11:49

    @LexLuther Seeing as this is an article related to Gaza and Israel, I saw fit to comment solely on this issue. My apologies for not realizing that i could comment on straws when the article was related to beans. I believe everybody has a right to live in peace, regardless of whatever nation or religion or race they may be. Israel wants to keep playing victim and the thing is, they can do that. They can continue making their plans but we know Who is the best planner and His plan is already in motion. If the Torah says one day the Lord will lead the Jews back, then why are the Jews back there when the Lord has not yet appeared? Its funny how you think it's a ridiculous idea (although its not what i had in mind) to ask the Jews to leave Israel because it's exactly what the Jews, sorry, the Zionists of Israel have asked, sorry, forced the Palestinians to do. @Phantom You're right 100%. ?If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.? ? Joseph Goebbels We could argue forever over these issues but i dont have the time to."They have ears but cannot hear, they have eyes but cannot see and hearts which do not understand. They are like cattle in the eyes of God because they do not use their common sense, naye they are worse" Quran God will only guide those Whom He chooses to.I do honestly pray to God that He guides us all and that one day soon those who do not yet see the truth will. May peace be upon you all. May God's peace be

      LexLuther - 2011-07-07 12:20

      You have not posted on any other stories that are on News24 featuring Arab and Muslim human rights attrocities. You only commented on this story. So no matter how you try and spin it, you are singling the Jewish state out for your criticsm. Therefore, by definition, you are a racist and prejudiced against Jews. Your further comments confirm that. Israel is doing the exact opposite of playing the victim. Israel is legitmately standing up to its enemies who would destroy it, and you are against them doing that. There are two sides to this conflict. Why should Israel's rights not be counted? Why can they not do their utmost to protect their people? Or are Jewish lives not as important as Arab lives?

      Phantom - 2011-07-07 15:11

      mish82, you say: "If the Torah says one day the Lord will lead the Jews back, then why are the Jews back there when the Lord has not yet appeared?" He has been doing that, for the last 63 years (since 1948), but you can't see it.

  • Badballie - 2011-07-07 14:27

    Should change the name of the boat to ama glug glug this religious war has been going on for a couple of thousand years these activists don't stand a chance in hell

  • mish82 - 2011-07-08 09:33

    @Phantom There can be many interpretations for a verse from a holy book but remember that there is only ONE that is correct. People sometimes use this as an excuse to translate a verse to suit their own desires. State of Israel is not being built on righteousness, so tell me, which Lord are you following??? It can't be Jesus (May peace be upon him) because he would never allow the killing of innocent people. I think you took a wrong turn somewhere. Word of caution: Get back on the right track before it's too late!

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