Two Gaza-bound aid ships were intercepted by the Israeli navy Friday morning and towed to an Israeli port, where the passengers were detained by Israeli security forces.Dennis Kosseim, a coordinator of the aid ships, told reporters that the Israeli obstruction of the aid mission would not deter the activists, adding, “Our goal is quite clear, it’s to bring humanitarian aid and hope to the Palestinians of Gaza”. He promised that aid missions to Gaza would continue, and more boats are planned in the coming months.
As the Israeli navy approached the two ships, communication was suddenly cut off between the passengers and their supporters and media contacts worldwide, including cell phone, satellite phone and radio communication – leading many to speculate that the Israeli military jammed the signals.
The two ships, a Canadian and an Irish ship, carried around 40 passengers and several tons of medical aid to bring to the people of Gaza to attempt to break the Israeli-imposed naval, land and air blockade which has been in place since 2007.
American journalist, Jihan Hafiz, who was on the Canadian ship, was among those detained.
She is a reporter with ‘Democracy Now’ news program in the United States. She had been providing live reports and updates to radio and television audiences in the US until communications were cut off Friday morning.
Democracy Now is a daily TV/Radio news program, hosted by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, airing on over 900 stations, pioneering the largest community media collaboration in the United States. Can be found on the internet at http://www.democracynow.org.
The last attempt to reach Gaza by ship, by an aid flotilla that planned to set sail from Greece in May, was stymied by the Greek government after pressure from US and Israeli officials.