With the US boat escorted by military commandos back to a Greek port, the Canadian boat boarded by Greek police, and two other Flotilla boats sabotaged by unknown professional divers, peace activists with the humanitarian aid ‘Freedom Flotilla’ aimed at breaking the siege on Gaza claim that the siege has now been extended to Greek shores.One of the organizers of the Canadian boat, called ‘Tahrir’ after the site of Egypt’s pro-democracy uprising, stated, “ Israel has in effect extended the illegal blockade of Gaza to Greek ports, using the Greece’s economic difficulties to influence the government’s position.”
According to a statement by the Canadian boat organizers, after overcoming numerous last minute hurdles, the Tahrir was boarded by local port police in Agios Nicolaos, Crete. The port authorities initially attempted to take the Tahrir’s official transit logs (which are required for sailing). The delegates declined to hand the documents over and marched to the local harbour master to demand an explanation. When the authorities were offered photocopies instead of the original documents, the port authorities were no longer interested in the documents.
‘The government of Israel, shamefully with the tacit support of the Harper [Canadian] government, is doing everything in its power to maintain the blockade. Yet we will persevere in our attempts until the blockade is lifted,’ says Irene McInnes of the Tahrir organizing committee.
‘We remain absolutely clear that the Canadian Boat to Gaza has not been, is not, and has no intention of, breaking any laws. It is the blockade of Gaza that is illegal under international law. We have a legal and moral obligation to challenge the blockade, given the failure of the international community to act,’ says Dylan Penner of the organizing committee. ‘This is why we must continue our attempts to sail to Gaza: to challenge the illegal and immoral blockade and to equally challenge the Canadian federal government’s support for it.’