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  Israel: Flotilla will be prevented from reaching Gaza

Monday June 27, 2011 13:13 by Katie Child - 1 of International Middle East Media Center Editorial Group

Israel has declared that the Freedom Flotilla 2 will not be allowed to enter into the besieged Gaza Strip by sea. Israeli and Egyptian officials have agreed that the Flotilla will be allowed to unload its cargo at the Egyptian port El-Arish, where the humanitarian goods will be transferred by land into Gaza after being checked by Israeli officials.

The US ship participating in the Flotilla, the Audacity of Hope, plans to set sail from Greece Monday or Tuesday. The US ship will meet vessels from Ireland and France at an agreed spot in the Mediterranean. Ships from Italy, Spain and Canada are also partaking in the upcoming Freedom Flotilla.

Greek officials have delayed the US ship departure by stating the boat is not seaworthy and are subjecting it to a meticulous inspection.

A ship from Jordan may also be participating in the Flotilla boarding around 200 Palestinians as well as other Arab activists.

The Israeli navy is closely tracking the Freedom Flotilla and is preparing to stop it far from Gaza, in international waters, using all force necessary according to military sources.

Flotilla participants have been informed that they will be forced to dock at Port Ashdod in Israel, where Israel claims that it will transfer the aid into Gaza. Participants are hesitant to do this since the flotilla will most likely be impounded at Ashdod. In addition, hundreds of tons of humanitarian aid seized by the Israeli government last year was never delivered to the Gaza Strip, as promised by Israeli officials.

Israeli officials have expressed satisfaction that the US government has threatened to arrest participants on board the Flotilla. Cyprus has also issued a ban on use of it ports and French and Australian officials have issued a strong warning to prevent its citizens from participating.

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