Hezbollah says Israel 'terrified' of women's flotilla
'Zionists fear boat carrying women who want to deliver aid to Gaza, so how will they be able to face rockets in next war?' top Shiite group figure Hashem Safieddine says. Report: Hezbollah banned Lebanese singer Haifa Wehbe's request to join flotilla on grounds that her 'nudity, degradation and immodest dress' would shame passengers
"Israeli threats against women activists and journalists who are organizing new flotillas serve as proof of the immense fear the Zionists are living in," Hezbollah's Executive Council Chief Hashem Safieddine said Saturday.
Speaking at an event marking the opening of Hezbollah summer camps in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, Safieddine said Israel "is terrified by a boat carrying women who want to deliver aid to Gaza. How will this Israel be able to face the rockets and the resistance bloc in the next confrontation? This is the Zionist entity in its current state and its deteriorating ability.
"On the other hand, the military strength of the resistance is growing, while Israel's is decreasing," said the Hezbollah figure.
Israel's UN envoy has warned the world body that the Jewish state is entitled to use "all necessary force" to prevent the activists from reaching Gaza.
In a letter to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon quoted by Israeli radio stations and Internet news sites on Saturday, Ambassador Gabriela Shalev said Israel suspected that organizers might be linked to Lebanon's Hezbollah.
"Israel reserves its right under international law to use all necessary means to prevent these ships from violating the existing naval blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip," she said in the letter.
"It appears that a small number of ships plan to depart from Lebanon and sail to the Gaza Strip which is under the control of the Hamas terrorist regime," she added.
"While those who organize this action claim that they wish to break the blockade on Gaza and to bring humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza, the true nature of the actions remains dubious."
A group of dozens of Lebanese women activists is planning to set sail for Gaza on a ship loaded with medical supplies in a new bid to break Israel's four-year blockade of the Palestinian territory.
The women have not yet announced a departure date but on Thursday they gathered near a shrine to the Virgin Mary in south Lebanon to pray she bless their vessel, christened "Mariam" in her honor.
"The participants are committed to making progress and our only weapons are faith in the Virgin Mary and in humanity," spokeswoman Rima Farah told AFP.
The women deny Hezbollah involvement in their planned trip and the terror group itself said on Friday that it was not backing the voyage of the Mariam, because it did not want to give Israel a pretext to attack the activists.
However, Kuwaiti daily al-Siyassah reported that famous Lebanese singer Haifa Wehbe's request to join the vessel has been vetoed by Hezbollah on the grounds that her "nudity, degradation and immodest dress" would damage the reputations of all the Arab and European women on board.
Preparations are also underway by other pro-Palestinian activists to send an aid ship carrying educational supplies and journalists from Lebanon to Gaza.
Israel fought a deadly war with Hezbollah in the summer of 2006. The battles destroyed much of Lebanon's infrastructure and killed more than 1,200 Lebanese and 160 Israelis, mainly soldiers.
Pro-Palestinian activists in Jordan have announced their decision to purchase a boat and take part in one of the planned sails to Gaza.