The Israeli Navy intercepted on Sunday a boat carrying nearly two dozen pro-Palestinian activists who were trying to breach the maritime blockade of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
“The boat was tracked and stopped in accordance with international law,” the Israeli military said in a tweet. “The forces made it clear to the boat that it was violating the blockade and that any humanitarian aid to Gaza could be delivered via the Ashdod port. The operation ended without any irregular incidents.”
במהלך פעילות כוחות זרוע הים נתפסה ספינה שהפליגה מאירופה במטרה להפר את הסגר הימי החוקי על רצועת עזה. הספינה הייתה במעקב ונתפסה בהתאם לדין הבין-לאומי. הכוחות הבהירו לספינה כי היא מפרה את הסגר וכי ניתן להעביר כל ציוד הומניטרי לעזה דרך נמל אשדוד. הפעילות הסתיימה ללא אירועים חריגים
— צבא ההגנה לישראל (@idfonline) July 29, 2018
The boat was part of the so-called “Freedom Flotilla” — a three-vessel entity — that made its way from Europe toward Gaza in recent weeks.
Flotilla organizers tweeted on Sunday that the “Al Awda” boat had been “hijacked by Israeli forces.”
#FreedomFlotilla boat hijacked by Israeli forces. PLEASE contact gov’ts to demand they call for #SafePassage for all on board #AlAwda (The Return) & speedy delivery of our #solidarity gifts to the #Palestinians of #Gaza: https://t.co/oKWb89g1Jl #SOSjustfuture4Palestine pls RT pic.twitter.com/sVB9HRzsyM
— Freedom Flotilla (@GazaFFlotilla) July 29, 2018
A number of the groups involved in the flotilla — including the Turkish IHH and Malaysian MyCARE — are known for their ties with Hamas.
Furthermore, one of the organizers, Zaher Birawi, has been designated as a terrorist by the Israeli government, which has identified him as a Hamas representative in Europe.
According to a NGO Monitor report, a number of the flotilla’s participants have ties to “highly biased and politicized NGOs active in the Arab-Israeli conflict, including Medical Aid for Palestinians, Israel Social TV, Christian Peacemaker Teams, Health Work Committees, and CODEPINK.”