An Irish humanitarian cargo ship is due to arrive in Gaza within hours in a renewed attempt to break the Israeli blockade on the Palestinian territory.
The Irish-flagged ship carries 19 activists including former UN Assistant Secretary-General Denis Halliday, Malaysian member of Parliament Mohd Nizar bin Zakaria and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Corrigan, who told the Associated Press they were determined to fulfill their mission but wouldn’t resist.
“We will sit down,” she told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from the ship. “They will probably arrest us … But there will be no resistance.”
The activists hope to break the three year long Israeli blockade which was imposed after militant group Hamas took control of the territory. They intend to deliver humanitarian aid including medical aid, construction material, toys, educational and writing material.
The renewed attempt comes at the heels of a deadly turn of events for the Freedom flotilla which was intercepted by Israeli commandos in the Mediterranean sea in a raid that left nine activists dead and several commandos injured.
The MV Rachel Corrie is named after a 23 year-old American activist who was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer in 2003 while protesting home demolitions in the Palestinian Gaza Strip.
Palestinian political leader and former presidential candidate Mustafa Barghouti called the ship on Friday and offered his support saying “the world is watching.”
I commend this courageous action of brave international civilians who are carrying essential medical, education and construction materials denied by Israeli suffocating and illegal siege on Gaza. It is vital that they have maximum support by the international community!
According to Free Gaza Movement spokesman, Greta Berlin, the 1200-ton ship is 110 miles away and is expected to arrive in Gaza sometime Saturday.
Israel has vowed to stop the aid ship, insisting it would not reach the territory, the AP reports.
“There is a maritime blockade on Gaza,” ministry director Yossi Gal told reporters in Jerusalem Friday.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry also promised the ship safe passage to the Israeli port of Ashdod instead, according to Haaretz.
We have no desire for a confrontation. We have no desire to board the ship. If the ship decides to sail the port of Ashdod, then we will ensure its safe arrival and will not board it.