Israeli military sources claimed that international activists participating in the Freedom Flotilla 2, heading to Gaza to deliver the much needed medical and humanitarian supplies, are preparing for violent clashes with the Israeli navy, and “are even planning to shed the blood of Israeli soldiers”, according to the army.According to a report published by Israel’s Haaretz paper, army sources stated that several activists said during coordination sessions with organizers of the Flotilla that “they intend to resort to violence, and shed the blood of Israeli soldiers attacking their ships”.
The report added that activists of the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), in addition to Muslim and Arab activists will be part of the flotilla, and that they are preparing to use violence against the soldiers.
The army also claims that the ships were loaded with sacks containing chemicals and flammables to be used against the soldiers who board their ships.
It added that “some participants showed clear intend to resort to violence”.
Haaretz reported that the predictions of the army contradict with statements made by Israeli political leaders who believe that the issue can be resolved without violence.
But the Israeli army and Israel’s security officials believe that violence is a likely scenario, and are preparing plans to deal with the situation “should it escalate to violent clashes”.
On Monday, the Israeli Ministerial Council authorized the use of force if needed to enforce the naval siege on Gaza, and to act on preventing any of the ships from reaching the besieged coastal region.
The Israeli Defense Ministry recently suggested forming a court that would sanction the confiscation of all naval equipment and ships that try to break the siege on Gaza.
Israeli security sources said that by confiscating the ships and equipment, flotilla organizers will have hard time organizing more ships in the future.
On Monday, Israel declared that the Freedom Flotilla 2 will not be allowed to enter into the besieged Gaza Strip by sea.
Israeli and Egyptian officials have agreed that the Flotilla will be allowed to unload its cargo at the Egyptian port of El-Arish, where the humanitarian goods will be transferred by land into Gaza after being checked by Israeli officials.
Furthermore, Israeli officials expressed satisfaction after the US government threatened to arrest American flotilla participants.
Last Thursday, United States Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, stated that solidarity ships heading to Gaza come in defiance of the Israeli Blockade on the coastal region, and are considered “unnecessary effort that is likely to draw a reaction from Israel”.
On May 31, 2010, Israel attacked the Turkish Mavi Marmara, part of the Freedom Flotilla, killing nine Turkish activists, including a Turkish activist who carried U.S. citizenship.
An investigation by the Turkish government of last year’s Israeli attack released its results two weeks ago, showing that the nine men killed were hit by 30 bullets fired at close range, with five of the men killed by shots to the head.
The 19-year old American citizen who was killed, Furqan Dogan, was killed by five bullets fired at a distance of 45 cm to his face, the back of his head, his leg and his back.
Freedom Flotilla organisers issued several press releases affirming the non-violent nature of their trip to Gaza, and that its only goal is to break the illegal Israeli siege and to deliver urgently needed medical and humanitarian supplies.