Israeli officials stated Wednesday that their Navy will not allow the two ships (Tahrir and Saoirse) to reach the Gaza Strip, and claimed that the ships “are breaching the Israeli blockade on the coastal region.” The ships (Freedom Waves) left Turkey on Wednesday, and managed to enter international waters; they are now on their way to the Gaza shore.There are 27 human rights activists on board the ship. They said that their trip is nonviolent and is meant to deliver humanitarian supplies to Gaza, and challenge the illegal Israeli siege on the coastal region.
Reuters reported that Israeli Lieutenant-Colonel, Avital Leibovich, told reporters by phone that Israeli soldiers intercepting the ships “will have to assess the situation upon approaching the vessels, and see if they are facing any violence.”
Leibovich claimed that the ships are conducting “an act of provocation” by sailing to Gaza, but added that the ship are, at the moment, far away from the coasts of Israel and Gaza.
She also stated that Israel will be willing to offer to unload aid supplies on board the ship and deliver them to Gaza, but will not allow the ship to continue their journey to the besieged coastal region.
She further claimed that Israel imposed the siege on Gaza “to prevent the smuggling of weapons to armed groups.”
Furthermore, the Israeli Army Press Office stated that the army will be contacting the ships, and that the Navy has concluded all preparations to intercept the ships and stop them should they “challenge military orders and continue their sail to the Gaza shore.”
Last year, Israeli Commandos attacked the Turkish MV Marmara ship, part of the Freedom Flotilla that was heading to Gaza to deliver humanitarian supplies, and killed nine Turkish activists before towing the ship to Ashdod Port.