According to activists on the Freedom Flotilla of aid ships to Gaza, a second boat has been severely damaged by unknown saboteurs who dove under the boat to damage the propeller shaft. The boat’s captain said that the way the boat was sabotaged was extremely dangerous, as it would have caused the propellor to cut through the boat’s hull and make the engine room to fill with water, thus sinking the boat while en route to Gaza.Earlier this week, another of the Flotilla’s boats – a joint Norwegian-Swedish-Greek effort named ‘Juliano’ after assassinated Israeli peace activist Juliano Mer-Khamis – was sabotaged in the same way while preparing for departure from a Greek port.
The sabotage of the two boats follows a complaint filed by the Israel Law Center against the US Boat to Gaza caliming that the boat ‘lacked seaworthiness’ and needed additional inspection before departing, despite the fact that the boat had already been inspected and approved for travel.
The ‘Freedom Flotilla’ aims to bring humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza, who remain under an Israeli-imposed siege that began in 2007. Malnutrition rates are extremely high in Gaza due to the siege, and over 300 patients have died due to the lack of medical care, and the refusal of Israeli authorities to allow them to travel outside of Gaza for medical care.
According to the coordinator of the Irish ship, Fintan Lane, “This was the type of sabotage that endangered human life”. Some activists on the Freedom Flotilla say they suspect Israeli agents of involvement in the sabotage, although no one has yet been charged in the attacks.