Turkish ship en route to Gaza
Photo: Reuters

IDF says will stop flotilla, but transfer supplies to Gaza

Military launches PR counterattack against humanitarian ship convoy; says will arrest passengers, transfer cargo to Strip

The IDF on Wednesday announced its plan of action vis-a-vis the "break the siege" flotilla making its way to the Gaza Strip. The convoy, organized by activists from around the world, is slated to arrive to the Gaza shores during the upcoming weekend.


According to its plan, the IDF will alert the participating ships, within different ranges, and urge them to turn around. If the vessels continue to advance – its passengers will be detained by the navy and returned to their countries in accordance with the Ministry of Interior.


The IDF also decided it will transfer the humanitarian supplies carried on the ships to the Gaza Strip, after they undergo a security check.


As part of the military preparation, the navy carried out an exercise intercepting ships and arresting passengers.


Navy Commander Major-General Eliezer Marom said the navy forces will use measures to protect the soldiers' lives and ensure that there are no terrorist elements or explosives on the ships.


Marom said he instructed the forces to act sensibly and avoid provocations, adding that the IDF had no intention of harming the hundreds of passengers on board these ships.


PR counterattack

Prior to making the announcement, IDF launched a PR counterattack against the international flotilla. Head of Gaza's Coordination and Liaison Authority, Colonel Moshe Levi convened a press conference and said that there was no shortage in food and supplies in the Strip.


"The planned flotilla to Gaza is a provocative act that is unnecessary under the existing conditions in the Gaza Strip, where the humanitarian situation is good and stable," he said, adding that Israel allows many products into the Strip, and only limits those that might serve Hamas in advancing terror activities.


According to the security establishment's data, 100 trucks enter the Strip daily. In recent months, these trucks transported over 1,200 tons of medical supplies, 155 tons of food, 2,900 tons of clothing and footgear and about 17 million liters (about 4.5 million gallons) of diesel fuel.


The security establishment reiterated that it did not restrict the entrance of supplies into the Strip, noting that it only restricts materials that might be used by Hamas for terror activities.


"We do not know of a shortage in any department, and allow bringing in different equipment, as well as export out agricultural produce. Of course whatever can serve the Hamas in strengthening its military is not allowed in," said col. Levi during a journalists' briefing at Erez crossing.


פרסום ראשון: 05.26.10, 22:45
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