Israeli Navy stops flotilla from entering Gaza Strip

Flotilla redirected to Ashdod after navy prevents attempted illegal entry into Strip

Mavi Marmara May 2010

Mavi Marmara May 2010

The Israeli Navy prevented the four-vessel flotilla from entering the Gaza Strip overnight Sunday into Monday morning. The Swedish-pro Palestinian group that organized the flotilla left from Greece over the weekend.

The IDF met the activists on the “Marianne of Gothenburg”, an official stating, “When it became clear that the passengers had no intention to cooperate and proceed to the port of Ashdod, it was decided to seize the vessel and to transport it to Ashdod port.”

The IDF reported that no injuries or conflict arose, releasing the statement following the incident: In accordance with international law, the Israeli Navy advised the vessel several times to change course. Following their refusal, forces visited and searched the vessel in international waters in order to prevent the intended breach of the maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip. The forces have reported that use of force was unnecessary, and that the process was uneventful. The vessel is currently being escorted to Ashdod Port and is expected to arrive within 12-24 hours.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu referred to the flotilla as a “demonstration of hypocrisy and lies” stating that “their determined and efficient action in detaining the passengers on the ship that tried to reach the Gaza coast in contravention of the law… This flotilla is nothing but a demonstration of hypocrisy and lies that is only assisting the Hamas terrorist organization and ignores all of the horrors in our region. Preventing entry by sea was done in accordance with international law and even received backing from a committee of the UN Secretary General.”