[News] Aid Ship Sets Sail From Iran Bound For Gaza
news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Jun 17 11:23:59 EDT 2010
Aid Ship Sets Sail From Iran Bound For Gaza
Thursday June 17, 2010 12:50
by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC News
One cargo ship full of humanitarian aid has departed from Iran bound
for Gaza, with another ship planning to join it by the weekend. The
Iranian flotilla, organized by the International Red Crescent Society
and funded by private donations, follows an international aid convoy
that was attacked by the Israeli navy on its way to Gaza two weeks
ago, killing 9 aid workers.
This is not the first time that a ship from Iran has tried to break
the Israeli siege on Gaza. Last year, in the midst of a 3-week long
Israeli assault on Gaza during which 1,400 people were killed, an
Iranian ship attempted to enter Gaza from the Mediterranean Sea, but
was turned back by the Israeli military while still in international waters.
The Israeli military did not attack the Iranian ship at that time,
but has threatened to engage the ship that is currently on its way
while the ship is in international waters. This is the same tactic
that Israel used against the international aid flotilla of six ships
two weeks ago, in which the Israeli navy sent in one quarter of the
Israeli navy and boarded the ships using commandos from helicopters.
Despite the fact that this action was in direct violation of the law
of the seas, the Israeli government has continued to receive the full
support of its strongest ally, the US government. US President Barack
Obama has not condemned the attack, and said that he would trust the
Israeli government's internal investigation of the incident, in spite
of that government's poor record of investigating itself.
The U.S. State Department spokesperson for the region, P.J. Crowley,
told reporters that the US government is extremely concerned about
the international aid ships on their way from the Iranian people to
the people of Gaza. He claimed that the Israelis "have, in fact, in
the past, intercepted ships that were carrying, you know, weapons and
armaments that have been used to threaten the Israeli people." But
Crowley failed to back this claim with evidence, and the Israeli
government has not ever presented a case in which it captured ships
with weapons bound for Gaza.
Palestinians fear that such statements on the part of the US could be
setting the stage for an unnecessary confrontation on the
Mediterranean Sea. The Red Crescent Society is an international aid
organization similar to the Red Cross in the Muslim world. The ship's
contents have been fully inspected, and the manifest verified.
Passengers and crew say that any attempts by the Israeli government
to claim that the ship might have weapons on board would be a
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