[File photo] Israeli Naval Forces drill and practice various scenarios to prepare for the “Flotilla Operation”, May 30, 2010 [IDF / Flickr]
Middle East Monitor report, 3 October 2016 [Article updated and abridged. Ed]
The Israeli navy has been preparing to face the Women’s Boat to Gaza heading to break the ten-year-old siege on the Gaza Strip, Quds Press reported yesterday. The boat [the Zaytouna], which is part of the Freedom Flotilla coalition, is expected to arrive in Gaza within three days if not impeded in any way.
According to a report on Israel’s Channel 2 TV, naval gunships have been waiting in the [Israeli] port of Ashdod ready to move and intercept the Zaytouna. The TV report claimed that the activists on board the boat have been trained in order to know what to do if they are confronted by the Israeli navy.
Meanwhile, Channel 7 TV said that a group of right-wing Jewish settlers are planning their own flotilla off the coast of Gaza to intercept the Zaytouna, and oblige them to go to Syria. Refugees there, they argue, are in more need of their support than the Palestinians in Gaza.
The women are on the [solidarity] mission to Gaza, including the Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire from Northern Ireland, and Marama Davidson, a Green Party MP from New Zealand. Turkish athlete Cigdem Topcuoglu, who sailed on the Mavi Marmara in 2010 and whose husband was among the ten activists killed by Israeli commandos, was due to join a second flotilla boat, the Amal, which is now unable to join the flotilla.