Free Gaza nears Gaza and the Israeli Navy vows no passage.

As Free Gaza nears Gaza, the Israeli Navy states it will not hesitate to use force against the peaceful humanitarian/protesters:

According to the Israeli media, Israeli military officials stated that the Israeli Navy would be ‘within its rights’ to use force against the boats. The Foreign Ministry has issued a position paper stating that under the Oslo Accords, Israel has the right to use force against the demonstrators, as the Oslo Accords (of 1993) name Israel as responsible for the territorial waters of Gaza. But Palestinians contend that subsequent signed agreements, such as the Camp David Accord (2000) and the Gaza disengagement plan (2005) give the Palestinians the right to the use of their shoreline. Palestinian fishermen who fish off the coast of Gaza face constant harassment from Israeli warships stationed just off the coast, and are often fired upon with shells and missiles.

http://www.imemc.org/article/56592

Here from the Haaretz:

According to the Foreign Ministry, Israel is within its rights to use force against the seafarers.

The subject of the Greek-flagged boats which the Free Gaza group said it would sail from Cyprus to Gaza this week prompted defense officials to hold a series of discussions; they said allowing the ships to reach the Gaza coastline could create a dangerous precedent. But the Israel Navy has not yet received any instructions on how to treat the vessels.

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1012171.html

The participants in this voyage have received several threats against their lives lately:

Those on the ships and in Cyprus have received threatening messages on their mobile phones. Lauren Booth, sister-in-law of former British prime minister Tony Blair, said a dozen voice and text messages have warned that the ships could be “blown up” or “destroyed, killing all on board”. Ms Booth revealed there have also been calls to family members, including her husband, who was told that she was in “great danger. These ships will be blown up.”

He demanded to know how the man had obtained their home number in France.

In response to the threats, the Free Gaza movement issued a statement saying they are “human rights activists” who have “vowed to take no violent action, in either word or deed, against any other human beings – including against Israeli government and military officials who, apparently, wish us harm”. Given the “enormity” of the humanitarian crisis caused by the siege, they said, “. . . we will not be deterred . . . We will sail to Gaza, and this siege will be lifted.”

The boat people were commended for their “courage and commitment” by Nobel laureate Mairead Maguire.

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/world/2008/0818/1218868019890.html

The peace activists apparently do not intend to be easily bullied by threats of force against them:

“Why should we turn around? Israel doesn’t own that property. We have been invited by the people of Gaza,” she said.

“We’ll stand in line, link arms, and tell them they’re not wanted,” Berlin added.

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1218710388004&pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull

Of course, the Israeli’s newest weapon could be unleashed upon the peace activists:

The Palestinian protestors massed at the fence expected tear gas and rubber bullets; what they got instead was a putrid yellow wind, Israel’s newest weapon against West Bank demonstrators.

The noxious mist, which Israeli police refer to as “skunk,” was used for the first time earlier this month, when a truck-mounted cannon sprayed it over the heads of protestors, sending them racing down the hillside, retching and tearing off their shirts to try to escape the stench.

Dozens of Palestinians from the village of Bilin, along with international and Israeli activists, had marched to a nearby segment of Israel’s controversial separation barrier to demand its removal, just as they have done every Friday for the last three and a half years.

“No, no to settlements; no, no to the wall!” they shouted, as they waved Palestinian flags and posters of Yusef Amira, a 16-year-old shot dead by Israeli police at a protest in a neighbouring village last month.

The Israeli border police called on them to disperse through loudspeakers, warning them they were near a “closed military zone.”

Then the skunk truck arrived, spraying a cloud of yellow mist and filling the air with the suffocating stench of faeces and urine.

http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5g3pP-1hdXK0njYXxYydXE6NHlaXA

Israeli officials have offered to take the Free Gaza supplies over land crossings into Gaza, but we can see how disingenuous this offer is when we see the case of the Scottish medical supplies which still haven’t been allowed into Gaza:

http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2008/08/16/medical-supplies-from-scotland-still-prevented-from-reaching-gaza/

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