Gaza-bound Juliano ship
Photo: Reuters

Flotilla activists about to give up?

Norwegian, Swedish Gaza-bound flotilla activists to announce their return home after Greek interception of ships, while most US, Canadian activists head home. US passenger: We will be back

Norwegian Gaza-bound flotilla activists are expected to hold a press conference Friday morning in Norway to announce their decision to retract and make their way back home.


Another press conference will be held Thursday in Sweden with some 20 Swedish representatives from the Gaza-bound flotilla.



Only four Swedes remained in Greece to try are pressure the local government to call off the blockade and permit them to head towards the Gaza Strip, according to Jewish-Swedish flotilla spokesman Dan Israel.


Despite the circumstances causing the activists to return home, the spokesman said they are not at all disappointed and happy with their contribution. He added that the important thing was that Israel allowed supplies to be passed along to Gaza.


However he criticized the Greek government for taking part in the blockage, but promised the activists will soon return and sail to Gaza.


Similarly, most of the 36 American passengers of the SS Audacity of Hope, which was prevented by Greek officials from sailing to the Gaza Strip on Friday, have already return home or are on their way back.


Meanwhile, many of the passengers onboard the Canadian Tahrir vessel, which left Crete Monday afternoon towards Gaza but was taken over by Greek Coast Guard forces, claimed Israel sabotaged their ship or planned to do so on their way back home.


Both Gaza-bound ships had attempted to leave its Greek port without authorization en route to the Strip, prompting Greek forces to stop it at sea.


Promised to return

Greta Berlin, spokeswoman for the Free Gaza Movement (FGM) and a passenger on the US ship, admitted that many activists have returned home but assured that they will be back immediately once called.


Berlin told Ynet that out of 36 US activists only 15 remained in Greece, but added that she has learned that some of the Canadian passengers made their way back to the ship despite rumors that they were planning to leave.


She remarked that they are currently working on getting exit permits so they could sail onwards as planned.


Some activities have declared their plan to stay in Greece until given permission to sail to Gaza, and are satisfied with the fact that they have been able to raise awareness if not anything else.


Meanwhile, the Greek coastguard intercepted the small French boat "Dignitiy" with Pro-Palestinian activists aboard on Thursday, the third flotilla ship to be prevented from sailing to Gaza to challenge an Israeli blockade.


The boat with about 10 activists aboard, including French politicians, an MEP and a journalist, sailed from Corsica. Activists had said it was in international waters waiting to join the rest of the flotilla, now confined in Greek ports.


"We are still checking their papers. We haven't spotted any problem so far. They have not disclosed their destination, maybe because they have not decided yet," said a coastguard official in Crete, on condition of anonymity.


There were no arrests, activists and the coastguard said.



פרסום ראשון: 07.07.11, 15:58
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