Ships on their Way to Gaza, Israelis Announce Using Force to Prevent
Iran Does Not Plan To Escort Solidarity Ship
Tuesday June 15, 2010 08:40 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies
Deputy Commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC),
Hussein Salami, stated that the Corps has no plans to escort the
Gaza-bound solidarity ships heading from Tehran.
The statement is
contrary to a previous statement made by an official of the IRGC who
said that the Navy is prepared and ready to escort the solidarity ships
in order to protect them from a possible Israeli attack.
initially said that after the deadly Israeli attack on the Freedom
Flotilla, it would send its navy to escort solidarity ships sailing from
In other news, Salami said that Iran is not concerned
about the recent sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic and added
that Iran has experienced different sorts of sanctions since the Islamic
Revolution of 1979.
He added that the sanctions will not
significantly impact the Iranian economy as the country, according to
Salami, does not depend on interaction with any of the major world
Israel Tells Tehran, Beirut Solidarity Ships Will Be Stopped
Tuesday June 15, 2010 10:42 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies
The Israeli occupation government sent messages to Iran and
Lebanon threatening that it will resort to violence if needed in order
to prevent the Iranian and Lebanese solidarity ships from reaching the
Gaza coast to deliver humanitarian supplies.
Tel Aviv threatened
that the ships would be intercepted in international waters, and that
the Navy and the Army will use violence if deemed necessary.
added that the ships are sailing from what it described as “enemy ports”
and heading to “Israel,” and will be stopped at any cost.
is holding talks with Egypt in order to help and stop the ships once
they reach the Suez canal.
The Israeli security services and
intelligence departments started collecting information about the ships,
their cargo and the people onboard.
Senior Israeli military
leaders started consultations with Israeli Navy officials in order to
determine the strategy of intercepting the ships in an attempt to avoid
the same outcome of Israel’s deadly attack on the Turkish solidarity
The Israeli security services claim that the
Lebanon-based Hezbollah party is sending a ship filled with women, who
are members of Hezbollah and Hamas, in an attempt to embarrass Israel
should it attack the ships.
According to Israeli sources,
information received by Tel Aviv revealed that, so far, Egypt has not
received a request from Iran in order to allow its ships to sail to
Israeli Army Chief of Staff, Gabi Ashkenazi, stated that
the Freedom Flotilla, the Iranian ships and other solidarity ships are,
are “provoking Israel in the sea, through international media outlets,
international courts and different institutions and organizations."
Flotilla: Voyages legal and necessary
Published today, June 15, 2010
Bethlehem - Ma'an -
Following the declaration by the ICRC that Israel's blockade of Gaza
constitutes a violation of international humanitarian law, the Free Gaza
Movement declared its efforts to sail to the coastal enclave "legal and
A statement from the group, released on Tuesday, said
humanitarian actors must take up the mantle, as "governments refuse to
do so," with sharply worded calls for an end to the Israeli blockade so
far amounting to little in the way of action, as Israel has refused to
lift the siege or to participate in an international probe of the death
of nine Turkish activists aboard the last ships intercepted by the
In light of the failure of the international
community to secure the right to live in dignity for the people of Gaza,
organizers announced that preparations for the Freedom Flotilla Two,
while Iran has also announced its intention to sail ships toward Gaza.
According to Israeli reports, two vessels
left the Iranian port city of Bandar-Abbas on Sunday, but are not
due in the Mediterranean for some time, having first to gain permission
from Egypt to cross through the Suez Canal. Al-Jazeera, however, quoted
Iran's state news agency Mehr saying the ships were due to sail within
If the ships do
approach the Gaza Strip, Israeli officials say they will use force to
prevent them from docking. "The navy will operate under the
assumption that groups of provocateurs are aboard any future ships that
try to break the Israel-imposed sea blockade on the Gaza Strip, " wrote
Israel's Jerusalem Post, quoting Deputy Commander of the Navy
Rear-Admiral Rani Ben-Yehuda.
On 13 January 2009, Israeli forces
prevented an Iranian ship from entering Gaza waters, and according to
Al-Jazeera, Egypt also refused permission to the vessel to land in the
port of Al-Arish.
Israel calls on EU to prevent citizens from
Israel's Yedioth Ahronoth reported on
Tuesday that officials had "asked EU countries to prevent flotilla
vessels from leaving from their ports and to prevent their citizens from
taking part," but did not name a source.
The paper said Israel
hoped to turn public attention to the "diplomatic front," and added that
"All the flotillas aim to take advantage of Israel's diplomatic
The call comes amid unabated international pressure,
yet to achieve calls for an end to the siege or for an international
probe into the last flotilla deaths, and apparent support for missions
Ahead of the Freedom Flotilla mission, UNRWA
Secretary-General John Ging, speaking with a Norwegian newspaper in May,
urged the world to send ships to the shores of Gaza, saying "We believe
that Israel will not intercept these vessels because the sea is open,
and human rights organizations have been successful in similar previous
operations proving that breaking the siege of Gaza is possible."
Israeli officials cite an increased variety of goods being allowed into
Gaza as progress on the international calls, though leaders in the Strip
called the permission of jam and mayonnaise "a joke," while the ICRC and
Oxfam both issued extensive statements on Monday calling for an end to
the blockade, and the immediate lift on a ban for construction goods and
exports, saying "Gazans want jobs, not aid," explaining that a continued
reliance on aid will only see conditions in Gaza worsen.
Iranian boats to sail to Gaza with aid supplies
Monday June 14, 2010 17:13 by IMEMC Staff - Agencies
The first of two Iranian ships carrying aid left port on Sunday for
the Gaza Strip, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported. The ship is
transporting construction material, food and toys for children. The
second ship leaves port on Friday.
The Iranian ship comes in response to outrage over the killings on
the Gaza Freedom flotilla last May.
This is just one part of the
reinvigorated campaign to break the blockade of Gaza by international
groups, this move by Iran is seen as controversial given the existing
tensions with Israel over Iran’s nuclear program.
Iran says it
continues to express only its moral support to Hamas, despite Israeli
claims of also supplying weapons to the group.
In the meantime,
the family of Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier captured in Gaza in
2006, has expressed their concern over a possible policy shift in regard
to the blockade of Gaza, Haaretz reports.
In light of the outrage
over the attacked aid ships heading to Gaza and talks with Middles East
envoy Tony Blair, the Israeli government has agreed in principle to ease
the blockade. Any lifting of the blockade will most likely by limited to
an updated list of prohibited goods, which would be far shorter than the
This has led to protests from the Shalit family, the
family had in the past an agreement with cabinet ministers that any
lifting of the blockade would come with the release of their son.