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GAZA: Another ship, named after slain activist, attempts to break Israeli blockade [Updated]


Another ship full of humanitarian aid -- this one named after an American activist killed by an Israeli bulldozer -- is sailing toward the Gaza Strip even as the furor over a deadly confrontation between Israeli soldiers and another group of activists has yet to subside.

The Cambodian-flagged Rachel Corrie, named after the Evergreen State College student killed while protesting Palestinian house demolitions in the Gaza Strip, is carrying 11 passengers, including Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Corrigan, who was honored for pressing for peace between Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland, and former United Nations Assistant Secretary-General Denis Halliday. 

Another activist aboard the Rachel Corrie said those aboard would not fight if confronted by Israelis. 

"If the Israeli army attacks us and tries to board our ship, we will not attempt any resistance," Shamsul Akmar told Al Jazeera International. "We will take our boat as far as possible, and if they do come on board forcefully, we will not resist."

Any confrontation between those on the ship and Israeli forces could spread anger over the ongoing Israeli-Egyptian blockade of the Gaza Strip beyond the Arab world to Muslims worldwide.

[Updated at 5:50 a.m. PDT: The latest dispatch from the organizers says the 1,200-ton cargo ship is 150 miles away from Gaza in international waters. "Communication is difficult and sometimes impossible and there are many rumors out there started by Israeli authorities," said a statement attributed to those on board. "But there is no way we are going to Ashdod," the Israeli port of entry for most humanitarian aid to Gaza. "We are, for sure, on our way to Gaza.”]

[Updated at 11:59 p.m. PDT: Read the latest update about Israel's early morning interception of the Rachel Corrie.]

[Updated on June 5 at 8 a.m. PDT; Edmund Sanders reports from Jerusalem that Israelis have intercepted the aid ship without any bloodshed.]

The government of Malaysia, a rising Asian power home to a majority-Muslim population of 28 million, has called on the Israelis to exercise restraint.  

"Any Israeli military action on an unarmed vessel transporting civilians and humanitarian assistance will deepen the international community's negative perception of Israel," Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said Thursday night, according to the news website Bernama. "It will demonstrate Israel's total indifference to its international obligations in defiance of world opinion. Every single item on board the vessel such as educational materials, toys and construction materials have been inspected in Ireland."

The prime minister of Ireland, which opposes the blockade, has also warned the Israelis to back off. Five Irish nationals are aboard the ship.

“We are in constant contact with the Israeli government on this matter, advising absolute restraint in relation to the vessel as it goes about its humanitarian purpose," Premier Brian Cowen was quoted as saying by the Irish Times. "Cement on board the vessel is not regarded by the Israelis as a product that is simply humanitarian. We await what emerges from the definition Israel has put forward."

The ship is being funded by a nonprofit group linked to former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, according to a report by the Star of Malaysia.

-- Borzou Daragahi in Beirut

Photo: The Rachel Corrie. Credit: Free Gaza Movement

Comments () | Archives (51)

Well even Cartman wouldn't support those Hamas terrorists and whackadoodle hippies.

Wait until they enter Israel's waters and sink that mess of liberalism gone mad, and then say nothing at all. Expect thank you notes from the rest of the world ;0)

Actually, Tony, the more Israel bashers post their nonsense all over the internet, the more people who actually have a brain realize that those who are against Israel are pretty much belligerent and oblivious to the real issues at hand.

The fact is, you couldn't tell me one fact about why this incident occurred probably because the blog pieces which run as "news" these days are devoid of any importance.

Yet another attempt to provoke Israel. They found gun sights and ammo cartridges on the first ship. They're sure to find more on all the others.

"Another aid ship"

The total amount of aid shipped in the flotilla that was intercepted amounted to 20 truck loads of goods, already transferred to the Gaza Strip. Among the items, incidentally, was a large amount of medicines the expiration date for their use had been passed a long time ago.

Israel, by contrast, supplies the Gaza Strip - and it is not obligated to do so - fuel, electricity and water in addition to more than 100 truck loads of goods, e.g. food, hardware, clothing.

The intent of the senders of the ships, in other words, is not really to aid the Muslim-Arab residents of Gaza. It is rather to break a legally imposed blockade through the violation of both the law of the sea and the ethical right of the Jewish state of Israel to defend itself from those who have been calling for its annihilation and have already used more than 4,000 rockets to hit its civilian population.

Any other country would do exactly what Israel has been doing: defensively protecting its sovereignty and the very lives of its citizens.

Israel proves time after time after time that it is its own worst enemy where PR is concerned. It's essentially a chihuahua that thinks its a pit bull.

Dan, you have massacred the English language. Learn to write.

Glad to see Hasbra is still at it. The Israeli propoganda machine is hard at work trying to turn Israeli atrocities into acts of self-defense. What does Israel have to do before its supporters admit that their heavy handed brutality is not helping, but hurting any future chance of peace?
Oh wait, I forgot, the Israeli's never wanted peace. They withdrew from Gaza because there was no way the settlers would overtake the local population, instead they trying to kill off Gazans by denying their basic necessities so they can steal more land.

I used to get mad at my conspiracy theory friends when they said the two stripes of the Israeli flag are the Nile and the Euphrates and the Israelis wanted all the land in between, but now, I'm not so sure.

Right or wrong, a 2 state solution is absolutely necessary now!

Thank you for your sacrifices for the Gaza Strip
Thank you for putting your life at risk in order to have reached us assistance
Sami from Gaza

These "humanitarian" cruises to the Gaza strip constitute an IQ test for the rest of us. These people are purposely trying to provoke a violent incident as they did the other day. If they were really interested in providing aid, they would welcome inspection of the boat so that Israel and the world could be assured of their peaceful intent. I think most people see what's going on here and we're not buying it. I support Israel's right to take the necessary measures to defend itself.

No justice, no peace. You can not subjugate people forever.

Where is that North Korean Sub when you need one.
Sink the ship, no access will be allowed, period.
Stand tall, block anything illegal.
International comdemnation, BIG deal

Israel must behave like a normal country because we consider them like that, if they prefer to act like other kind of countries we should rethink many things. We know that the Israel situation is not easy and they have a lot of problems, but they can't mishandle and kill people because they don't think like themselves.

Never the twane shall meet,

You justify murder of unarmed civilians, even when the Irish government has given clearance for the Cambodian flagged ship to leave for Gaza?!

This is not about providing aid. This is about Muslims attacking Israel in the court of public opionion. If the blockade is so wrong, why are the Egyptions in on it? Why are they not getting bashed?
Why will they not take the aid to the Israeli port as was offered.

Again this is a terrorist strike in the court of public opinion....
Either the Israelis allow Missiles to be shipped in by boat or they face criticism which no other country would face in the same circumstances...

like our border patrol for keeping illegals out, where in other countries illegal border crossers are shot or imprisioned.

Senegal soldiers have murdered 227 men,women, and children----almost a whole village last weekend and they will not be punished, the story was almost unnoticed by the press. But the death of 9 rabble rousing opportunists continues to make the front pages. MSM is not the blame, a hate filled public is only interested in reading about some Jewish injustices, they could not care less about the crimes against 100 million blacks in Africa. This is a perfect example of selective prosecution and ant-Jewish sentiment.

This is a tough call. Should the IDF torpedo the boat from a surface vessel or from a submarine?
- josephlcooke.blogspot

Andre Abu Khalil, a Lebanese cameraman for Al Jazeera TV, who was aboard the Mavi Marmara told Reuters some 20 Turkish men tried by force to prevent the boarding commandos from reaching the wheelhouse and commandeering the ship.

Using slingshots, metal pipes and wooden rods they initially succeeded in wounding and overpowering four Israeli soldiers and dragging them below decks, he told Reuters.

After a 10-minute standoff the Israelis opened fire, according to the cameraman.

Never the twain shall meet: So wrong. Public Shamming is your main problem here. After all you are all the same people of God; Jew,Palestine,Hamas.....Let's move history forward not back

@Alan Lonergan (Ireland)
You, and many other Europeans are delusional. The people on Mavi Marmara, with their steel pipes and axes, did not come in peace. They came for jihad, for martyrdom, to kill Jews, to "remember Khaibar".

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