Ship to Gaza sails into the Cyprus issue


A group of activists tried to leave Cyprus on smaller vessels to meet up with the larger convoy in international waters but was turned back by the authorities. “Anything related to the trip to Gaza is not permitted,” said Cyprus police spokesman Michalis Katsounotos. A spokesman for the group said the activists, including 17 members of parliament from Ireland, Bulgaria and Sweden, would attempt to meet the flotilla by departing through the Turkish-occupied north of Cyprus. “We are bitterly disappointed with the Cypriot government,” said Greta Berlin, a spokeswoman for the Free Gaza Movement, the group spearheading the effort.

Cyprus government has prohibited per decree the departure of vessels bound for Gaza.

The deputy government spokesman and deputy to the President Titos Christofides noted in a statement that it is known that “Cyprus struggles for survival and should avoid any actions that cause problems and even damage this fight”.

Two cargo ships and five smaller boats loaded with thousands of tonnes of humanitarian aid  and  hundreds of passengers steamed towards a meeting point off  Cyprus coast where they planned to regroup before setting out for the Palestinian territory. The Freedom Flotilla is an international initiative of Pro-Palestine activists.

Cyprus has repeated asked the ships not to use the ports of Cyprus as a starting point for the aid operations.

Accordind to AFP, Israel told the ambassadors of  Cyprus, Turkey, Greece, and Ireland — the countries from which the ships set sail — it “issued warrants that prohibit the entrance of the vessels to Gaza” and that the flotilla would be breaking international law. Israel made it clear it intends to halt the vessels and detain the hundreds of people aboard in the port of Ashdod before deporting them.”

Dimitris  Droutsas, Greek Alternate  Foreign Minister said that he personally called Israel’s Defence Minister, Ehud Barak, yesterday and talked with him about the safety of the passengers. Mr. Droutsas stressed that “Greece’s position on the Palestinian issue is very clear, there is not need for further comments  and we have expressed in all tones, exactly, our position”.

The initiative Freedom Flotilla of international Pro-Gaza activists to reach Palestinian territory per ship started in August 2008. Three of the total eight were unsuccessful.

Organisers speaking to AFP/Nicosia said that the flotilla now under way is laden with 10,000 tonnes of aid, ranging from pre-fabricated homes to pencils

More detailed report about  SHIP TO GAZA to come to the blog soon

Links

ship to gaza with livestream http://digitalship.shiptogaza.gr/

facebook group http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=349046456547&v=wall&ref=ts

ENGLISH ! http://www.shiptogaza.se/

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