Israel Navy Takes Over Gaza-Bound Ship Estelle

Israel Navy Takes Over Gaza-Bound Ship Estelle

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    Israeli troops on Saturday boarded a boat carrying pro-Palestinian MPs and activists seeking to run its naval blockade on the Gaza Strip, blocking the latest attempt to reach the enclave by sea, the military said.
    The operation, which the military said was concluded peacefully, ended the latest bid by activists to breach Israel’s tight maritime embargo on Gaza which prohibits all naval traffic in and out of the Palestinian coastal territory.
    “A short while ago, Israeli navy soldiers boarded (the MV) Estelle, a vessel which was en route to the Gaza Strip, attempting to break the maritime security blockade,” the military said in a statement, indicating the Finnish-flagged vessel was being led to Ashdod port in southern Israel.
    “There was no violence,” a military spokeswoman told AFP, saying troops had taken control of the 53-metre (174-foot) vessel. “The passengers did not resist.”

    On board the ship are 17 passengers, among them five parliamentarians from Europe (2 from Greece) and a former Canadian lawmaker, organisers said. It was also carrying a shipment of humanitarian aid and 30 doves, which the passengers had been intending to release on arrival in Gaza.

    The announcement came shortly after organisers told AFP that the ship had “come under attack” after being approached by navy vessels some 38 nautical miles off the Gaza coast.
    The military said the boarding was carried out only after “numerous calls to the passengers onboard” which went unanswered.
    “As a result of their unwillingness to cooperate and after ignoring calls to change course, the decision was made to board the vessel and lead it to the port of Ashdod,” the military said, indicating that troops “did not need to use force.”

    On arrival at Ashdod, the ship’s passengers would be handed into police custody and then onto the immigration authorities.

    Activists on previous Gaza-bound flotillas which were stopped by the navy have all been taken to Israel and immediately deported.

    The vessel had set sail from Sweden several weeks ago, stopping off in Finland, France and Spain before leaving the Italian port of Naples on October 6.
    “The Estelle is now under attack — I have just had a message from them by phone,” Victoria Strand, a Stockholm-based spokeswoman for the Ship to Gaza-Sweden campaign told AFP at 0830 GMT.

    Among those on board are parliamentarians Ricardo Sixto Iglesias from Spain, Sven Britton from Sweden, Aksel Hagen of Norway, and Vangelis Diamandopoulos and Dimitris Kodelas, both from Greece. Former Canadian lawmaker Jim Manly is also on board.
    Strand said the Estelle, which has previously been used in Greenpeace missions, had been expected to dock in Gaza late Saturday afternoon.

    Activists organised a major attempt to break the Israeli blockade in May 2010, when six ships led by the Turkish-owned Mavi Marmara tried to reach Gaza.

    Israeli troops stormed the Marmara, killing nine Turkish activists and sparking a diplomatic crisis with Ankara, which expelled the Israeli ambassador and has cut military ties with the Jewish state.
    Since then, there have been several other attempts to reach Gaza by boat, all of which have been stopped by the Israeli navy, although there has been no repeat of the bloodshed.

    In July 2011, another flotilla tried to set sail for Gaza from Athens but several of the boats were unable to sail due to what organisers said was sabotage, while others were banned from leaving by the Greek authorities.
    Another attempt in November saw an Irish and a Canadian ship blocked from reaching the Palestinian territory.

    Israel says its blockade is necessary to prevent weapons from entering the coastal territory, which is run by the Islamist Hamas movement.
    Last year, a UN report on the flotilla raid accused the Jewish state of acting with “excessive force” but found that its naval blockade on the coastal territory was legal.
    (source: AFP)

    • Anonymous

      Good for Israel. Jewish people are not afraid to defend their country like our leftist appeasing cowards.

    • Anonymous

      Whats interesting about the incident were Turks were killed…. the current bully Turkish government didn’t attack Israel in response. (like they would Greece, Syria, Kurds, or any other smaller group of people)

      The reason for this is two-fold.

      a. The fear retaliation by US government.

      b. Israel has nuclear weapons that could turn Ankara into glass if Turkey went to war with Israel.

      There is a long term lesson here for for the Greek people.

      We clearly can no longer trust the  US to defend us  (see the betrayal of weasel Bush  in name dispute and Obama’s cruise control on the matter) Since the US government thinks nuclear weapons are fine for itself… and has now skirted its role to defend us in exchange for us not seeking nuclear capabilities to defend our own country… we  should consider leaving NPT and developing nuclear weapons capability ourselves. (not necessarily the same as having nukes but making sure we have the technical and industrial capacity to produce them if pushed into a corner)

      I do not say this because I want this option but when our alleged allies started to silently collude with irredentists whose entire “ethinc Macedonian” identity is implicitly an attempt to ethnically eradicate the Greek people… we have to consider all options available to us and this is one of them.

      Some cowards (typically leftists but not everyone on left is like this) would not support such a dramatic move but those same sorts have said and done virtually nothing to defend our country these last few years and care nothing for the Greek people (other than when it comes time to parasitically demand money from other Greeks). They are extreme anti-nationalists that tend to frame any attempt to preserve our Greek heritage as “fascism” and “racism”. The seem to care more about illegals and getting approval from their foreign comrades than Greeks. Much like they did when they collaborated with IMRO, such unprincipled sorts would once against collude with their IMRO comrades if push came to shove. Communists in particular are known to have committed the vast atrocities on their own people. (even more than Hitler)

      I’m not saying support GD here on hate every foreigner… but we should take action to defend ourselves against the Greek hating bigots that silently collude  with FYROM ultra nationalists.

    • Anonymous

      Just to show you double standards when it comes to Greece.

      Foreign media outlets like NYTimes (current editorial board head is Jewish) portray illegals as “victims” to Greeks…. but then go on to claim Israel are victims to illegals!

      http://latitude.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/15/israel-copes-with-illegal-immigrants/

      This isn’t a criticism to Israel. They have every right to defend their borders just like Greece does. This is a criticism of our far leftist morons that not only accept this endless ethnic harassment of the Greek people but even participate in it.