Nearly five months after Israeli naval forces seized a Lebanese boat attempting to defy the naval blockade imposed on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, another vessel said to be carrying three tons of medical supplies set sail from the port in Larnaca, Cyprus Monday morning en route to the coastal territory.
The boat, which is also carrying 21 peace activists, including former US Congresswoman Cynthia Ann McKinney (D-GA) and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Maguire, is expected to reach Gaza's shore at around noon Tuesday.
The voyage is the initiative of the leftist "Free Gaza Movement".
"This is the first time since Operation Cast Lead that we are attempting to break through the naval blockade, and I hope Israel acts reasonably and allows us to enter," said Greta Berlin, founder of "Free Gaza."
Setting sail for Gaza (Photo courtesy of 'Free Gaza')
"We are not asking for Israel's permission (to dock in Gaza), because, after all, we are sailing on international waters straight into Gaza's waters," she said.
According to activist Luvana Masarwa, a 30-year-old east Jerusalem resident, passengers "are excited about the possibility of contributing to breaking the siege."
"We want to show the Palestinian people in Gaza that they are not alone, and call on the international community to take a more active role in resolving the situation," she said.
"How can it be that I live just an hour-and-a-half drive from Gaza, and yet I have to fly all the way to Cyprus in order to reunite with my people?"