Gaza-bound ship takes on food, activists

2012-10-17 16:58

Athens - A sailing ship with pro-Palestinian activists that is planning to break an Israeli blockade of Gaza took on food and passengers off the southern Greek coast, a spokesperson said on Wednesday.

The Estelle, which first set off from Sweden and left Naples in Italy on 6 October, stopped in international waters off the island of Crete Tuesday afternoon, where it loaded up with food and passengers.

The ship then continued its journey with five lawmakers on board - one from Sweden, one from Spain, two Greeks and a Norwegian, the spokesperson for the Ship to Gaza Sweden movement, Mikael Loefgren, told AFP by telephone.

Thirty doves that are to be freed when the boat arrives in Gaza were also on board.

"They will now sail to Gaza. It's hard to say when they get there given the type of unpredictable sea we have now in the eastern Mediterranean," said Loefgren.

He expected the Estelle to arrive in Gaza around Saturday.

Loefgren identified the members of parliament as Ricardo Sixto Iglesias from Spain, Sven Britton from Sweden, Aksel Hagen from Norway, Vangelis Diamandopoulos and Dimitris Kodelas from Greece, as well as former Canadian lawmaker Jim Manly.

"We will not allow the law of the mighty to prevail, whether militarily, politically or economically," Kodelas said in a statement released by his radical leftist party Syriza, which has spearheaded anti-austerity protests in Greece.

"We will impose justice and democracy," Kodelas said.

Pro-Palestinian coalition

"The claim for bread, independence, freedom and democracy is not only by peoples facing military occupation or expansionism. It now concerns all of southern Europe...a red thread links Greece to other countries and people who fight," he said.

An activist for the Free Gaza movement told AFP that Greek coast guards failed to stop two speed boats from leaving the small port of Plakias in southern Crete with the supplies on Tuesday afternoon.

On its way to Naples, the Estelle had stopped in Finland, France and Spain.

Organisers say it carries humanitarian aid and its exact location can be followed on the flotilla's Ship to Gaza website.

The voyage was organised by an international pro-Palestinian coalition.

Israel says the blockade of the Gaza Strip is necessary to prevent weapons from entering the coastal territory, which is run by the Islamist movement Hamas.

The first Freedom Flotilla in May 2010 ended in tragedy when nine Turkish nationals were killed after Israeli commandos boarded the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara, the lead ship, as it tried to break through the blockade.

A second attempt to break the blockade in mid-2011 with a coalition of ships setting sail from Athens failed after Greek authorities intercepted the boats, banning their departure and towing back into port those who tried to leave.

In November last year, the Israeli navy also intercepted two Irish and Canadian ships carrying 27 passengers and crew that were trying to breach the blockade in international waters off Gaza.

Israel warned Finland last week that it would stop the boat by force if it tries to break the blockade.

  • mofstok - 2012-10-17 17:01

    Sometimes people keep on making the same mistakes over and over...

      jason.sole.92 - 2012-10-17 17:03

      and over and over. mistakes not learnt are doomed to be repeated.

      moses.mabhida.52 - 2012-10-18 08:32

      Agree I just don’t understand... tens of thousands are dieing 100 kilometres away in Syria and these people go to Gaza where the markets are plentiful and no one is dying with the exception of militants firing rockets… Gaza has one of the highest population growths in the world – there are no atrocities or mass killings as these racist activists would like us to believe. The hypocrisy is astounding – I for one hope the ship sinks so they could swim to Gaza… maybe the water will wake them up from their dull existence.

  • dragonfire47 - 2012-10-17 17:21

    Can't wait for the show, israeli navy will klap them good

  • theodor.herzl.3 - 2012-10-17 17:57

    It's a UN/International approved and recognized siege border. Attempting to breach this is against International law, so who is in the wrong??? An by the way Gaza borders on Egypt as well, why not ask the Egyptians to open their side of the border to allow the Gazans to go free!!! They can drop their goods off in Tel Aviv where trucks will take them to Gaza and where Hamas takes control of it and sells it to their own people at the highest price...

      cameronrh1 - 2012-10-17 18:36

      Its just to create PR Propaganda for the Palestinians, they are able to bring in any AID they want through Israels border or Egypts borders.

  • Dries - 2012-10-17 18:19

    Sink the bloody ship Israel.

      diana.gill.18 - 2012-10-17 22:03

      I love it as it is, without any punctuation marks.

      diana.gill.18 - 2012-10-17 23:07

      Dont make me sick saying you stand on human rights.

  • AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-10-17 18:44

    Although Israel has the right,and should kill as many Palestinian terrorist as possible, The Palestinians in Gaza have an extreme raw deal, and should get support from the West!! Most certainly; Humanitarian aid. I wish the Estelle, a safe and successful journey!!!!

      mofstok - 2012-10-17 18:47

      There are less risky and much more constructive ways on getting aid to Palestinians, as opposed to this childish charade that glistens with self-righteousness.

      duncan.gill1 - 2012-10-17 19:16

      AnthonyfromAfrica COULD NOT AGREE MORE!WELL SAID!!!

      Sibusiso - 2012-10-17 19:32

      AnthonyfromAfrica for THIS PARTICULAR COMMENT you have my total respect. Well said

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-10-17 20:30

      Patrick, It are the ones like YOU, who support Palestinian terrorists, who harm the Palestinian people !!!!!

      larry.lachman.54 - 2012-10-17 21:20

      No Lesego, it is you who are supporting the contnued abuse of the Palestinian people. Inadvertantly out of basic mundane stupidity.

      moses.mabhida.52 - 2012-10-18 08:35

      The number one and only threat to Palestinian civilian lives is their crazy murderous leadership bent on holy war with Israel.

  • larry.lachman.54 - 2012-10-17 18:54

    Gaza is busting at the seams with humanitarian aid. They dont need a sailing boat full of plasters and sanitary pads. Scuttle the 'law-makers' and bleeding heart crusaders, and at least fill the boat with sheep for Ied slaughter instead. What about the Syrian civilians being bombarded by heavy artilary and gunships? Do they not qualify more for humanitarian aid?

      duncan.gill1 - 2012-10-17 19:18

      larry you are so obviously biased in Israel's favor!If you are an example of an average Israeli then we are doomed to see much more bad news from the Middle East that's for sure!You really need to examine your conscience and look into your soul before it's all to late!

      duncan.gill1 - 2012-10-17 19:21

      larry you are so obviously biased in Israel's favor,you need to examine your conscience and look into your soul before it's too late!If you are an example of how an average Israeli Jew thinks,then we will see much more bad news coming from the Middle East that's for sure!

      larry.lachman.54 - 2012-10-17 19:50

      Of course I am biased in Israel's favour, Donut. What is your bias? I am also in favor of Syria finding peace, freedom and democracy. Do you? They will have to get rid of the dictator first, right? Perhaps Syria under an elected leadership will forge peace with Israel. There's a thought. Is this what's bothering you people.

      duncan.gill1 - 2012-10-17 21:15

      larry so you admit to being biased,,Ok point taken we will in future respect your views even less!

      larry.lachman.54 - 2012-10-17 21:24

      Donut, we are all biased. Or are you excluded from the general population of this world? If your bias was better thought out and articulated, then you may win some respect yourself. None deserving so-far.

      larry.lachman.54 - 2012-10-17 21:26

      ...and speak for yourself. There is no 'we'. My views are respected by many sane human beings.

      diana.gill.18 - 2012-10-17 22:07

      Poor larry starts speaking to donuts instead of eating them. Old-timers strikes?

      diana.gill.18 - 2012-10-17 23:06

      A lot of words has been said by a lot of users including your enlightened self. What makes you any different to me?

  • nathan.stern.33 - 2012-10-17 19:42

    Wheres the mexican borito, oops i mean flotilla for the rebels in Syria, bladdy hypocrats.

  • arian.garcia.94 - 2012-10-17 20:26

    Estelle has been fulfilling its mission long time ago. UN is talking about the blockade to Gaza and according to them is illegal because it is violating the human rights of civilians. Dragonfire47 the fact that even someone without information is talking about the topic is a proof

  • arian.garcia.94 - 2012-10-17 20:30

    Estelle already had succeeded. An Israeli spokeswoman had been commenting that Israel does not represent a concern to Israel due to the small amount of crew, as if Estelle´s crew will be a bunch of brainwashed military. They have already made news worldwide awakening many critique people´s attention about the apartheid that is being lived in GAZA

      moses.mabhida.52 - 2012-10-18 08:39

      Apartheid in Gaza... o yes I agree - the apartheid by Hamas that makes Christians into second grade citizens, while Jews are not allowed to be part of the population. Apartheid in Gaza must come to an end.

  • diana.gill.18 - 2012-10-17 22:16

    Is it something wrong with delivering the first-hand necessities to the ones who are in complete isolation? Still there are someones out there who think that they are the judge and the jury and its up to them to give orders and the same time to rant about their rights being violated.

      diana.gill.18 - 2012-10-17 23:03

      Thunking? Am i learning a new word?

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