Israel delays Gaza Freedom Flotilla departure with bureaucratic ‘block’

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One of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla campaigners
One of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla campaigners . . . "We're not stupid. We know there's a risk. But we know that by taking our little risk, there is a chance of waking the rest of the world up to its responsibilities." Image: AJ screenshop APR

Asia Pacific Report

The Freedom Flotilla is ready to sail to Gaza, reports Kia Ora Gaza.

All the required paperwork has been submitted to the port authority, and the cargo has been loaded and prepared for the humanitarian trip to the besieged enclave.

However, organisers received word of an “administrative roadblock” initiated by Israel in an attempt to prevent the departure.

Israel is reportedly pressuring the Republic of Guinea Bissau to withdraw its flag from the flotilla’s lead ship — Akdeniz (“Mediterranean”).

This triggered a request for an additional inspection, this one by the flag state, that delayed yesterday’s planned departure.

“This is another example of Israel obstructing the delivery of life-saving aid to the people in Gaza who face a deliberately created famine,” said a Freedom Flotilla statement.

“How many more children will die of malnutrition and dehydration because of this delay and an ongoing siege which must be broken?”

Israeli tactics
This is not the first time that Israel has used such tactics to stop Freedom Flotilla ships from sailing.

“We have overcome them before and are diligently working to overcome this latest attempt,” said the flotilla statement.

“Our vessels have already passed all required inspections and we are confident that the Akdeniz will pass this inspection provided there is no political interference.

“We expect this to be no more than a few days delay. Israel will not break our resolve to reach the people of Gaza.”


‘Freedom flotilla’ defying Israel’s Gaza blockade.       Video: Al Jazeera

Al Jazeera reports that lawyers, aid workers and activists are on board the ship in preparation for efforts by the flotilla to break the Israeli air, land and sea blockade of Gaza.

About 100 media people are on board as well, hoping to provide a more global eye on what is happening in Gaza.

Chief Mandla Mandela, the grandson of former South African President Nelson Mandela, is part of the flotilla that plans to soon set off for Gaza.

“For us South Africans, the Palestinian issue has always been close and dear to our hearts,” Mandela said, noting that this grandfather had also said, “Our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinian people.”

Published in collaboration with Kia Ora Gaza.

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