Hundreds of people gathered in Gaza City Thursday to protest the Israeli government’s announcement that it will stop the two humanitarian aid boats currently en route to Gaza.As of Thursday night at 10 pm, the boats have announced that they are within 200 kilometers of the Gaza Coast. Previous attempts to reach Gaza with humanitarian aid have been stopped by Israeli naval ships which intercepted aid boats in international waters, in violation of international maritime laws.
In the most well-known incident, in May 2010, Israeli commandoes dropped from helicopters onto a Turkish aid ship and killed nine humanitarian aid activists.
The supporters of the flotilla who gathered on Thursday afternoon marched from the center of Gaza City, past the UNESCO headquarters, to the Gaza port, voicing support for the aid boats and condemning Israel’s announcement that it will once again block the aid from entering.
Two boats, the Canadian Tahrir (Liberation) and the Irish Saoirse (Freedom), left a Turkish port Wednesday carrying 27 passengers from nine countries to try to break the Israeli siege on Gaza, which began in June 2007.
The Israeli newspaper Yedioth Aharanoth reported that Majd Kial, an Israeli on board one of the boats told their reporter, ‘I hope we can break the blockade and enter Gaza freely, or at least fight and stand up to the occupation. I hope we can use the situation to raise awareness for the blockade.”
Supporters on Facebook have also launched a campaign to appeal to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to speak out against Israel’s threat to again break international maritime law and intercept the aid boats.