Last Update 4:32
Sunday, 24 June 2018

Flotilla for Gaza to sail 'Thursday or Friday' from Crete

Gaza's flotilla organizers announce that they plan to start their trip on Thursday from the coast of Crete

AFP , Monday 27 Jun 2011
Views: 2866
Views: 2866

Pro-Palestinian activists from 22 countries plan to set sail in an international flotilla for Gaza from the coast of Crete on Thursday or Friday, organisers said Monday.

¨Thursday or Friday, nine or 10 boats should meet up in the Libyan Gulf,¨ Vaguelis Pissias, one of the Greek organisers of the flotilla, said at a press conference with representatives from the international organisations involved.

¨We really hope that despite the pressure from Israel and other countries, the Greek authorities are not going to stop us leaving," he added.

Organisers of the ¨Freedom flotilla¨ complained that the Greek authorities were creating ¨administrative obstacles¨ amid pressure from Israel to stop the campaigners from attempting to defy the five-year blockade of the Gaza Strip.

The departure has also been complicated by local politics, with transport strikes planned for this week as frustrated Greeks protest against harsh austerity reforms being voted on by the government of the debt-ridden country.

Several of the boats taking part -- including two cargo ships carrying three thousand tonnes of aid such as medicines and cement -- will set off from Greek ports, while others plan to join them out at sea, organisers said.

On Monday, Israel's security cabinet ordered its marines to prepare to stop the international flotilla from entering Gaza, but said they should avoid confrontation with the activists on board.

Despite warnings from the United States, France and Greece not to take part, 350 activists including artists, writers and Swedish, French, Norwegian and Spanish members of parliament, are hoping to draw attention to Gaza's plight.

A similar operation in May last year ended in violence when Israeli commandos seized the flotilla's flagship, the Mavi Marmara, leaving nine dead.

This year, French, Italian, Irish, Spanish, Canadian and American boats plan to take part, as well as a Greek, Swedish and Norwegian ship and two cargo vessels, one of which has been organised by Palestinian refugees.

¨Israel can't tell European countries which boats can leave or not,¨ said Thomas Sommer-Houdeville, a representative for the French ship from the ¨A Boat for Gaza¨ group.

Ann Wright, a member of the US delegation on the Audacity of Hope boat, said: ¨We are here to defy US and Israeli policy... and resist Israel's diplomatic efforts to stop the flotilla.¨

Short link:


Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.

© 2010 Ahram Online.