Around 35 miles off the coast of Gaza, at least three Israeli naval ships have blocked the passage of the MV Rachel Corrie, a humanitarian aid ship trying to deliver aid, to the Gaza Strip. The Navy says they will force the ship and its passengers to re-route to the Israeli port of Isdud (Ashdod), where international media have assembled, and right-wing Israelis have arrived to harass members of the Arabic-language press.At the port of Isdud (Ashdod) in Israel, fundamentalist Israelis attacked Arab reporters saying, ‘No Arabs should be here. All Arabs must leave!’ Various media outlets are gathered at the top of a cliff in Isdud (Ashdod) overlooking the port, but only the Arab media are being harassed by the Israelis.
According to journalists present at the scene, the Israeli police are aware of the harassment but have failed to take any action against the Israelis for their verbal and physical assaults of the media.
Walid al-Oumri of Qatar-based Al-Jazeera said that earlier this week, the same thing happened, and he himself was attacked by right-wing Israelis. In that incident, the Israeli police took al-Oumri away from the area, and did not approach the Israelis who were engaging in violence and harassment.
In Gaza, Palestinian journalists have reported that the MV Rachel Corrie is visible, using binoculars, on the horizon, along with several Israeli ships.
Although some Palestinians in Gaza are still hopeful that they will receive the much-needed aid, Israeli forces have made it clear that they plan to prevent the latest aid ship from reaching Gaza, and will use violence to stop the peaceful mission from proceeding.