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Israel Intercepts Aid Boat Bound for Besieged Gaza Strip

Health & Wellness  (tags: Al Awda, IOF blocks passage of humanitarian boat, international waters, medical supplies-equipment seized, Turkey, Mavi Marmara flotilla, international law, news-media/world/Gaza, #GreatReturnMarch, #Freedom Flotilla, siege of Gaza, blockade of Gaza Strip )

- 236 days ago -
Al Awda, carrying at least 23 people, was meant to reach the Gaza port approximately at noon local time on Sunday but was redirected instead to the Israeli port of Ashdod


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fly bird (26)
Sunday July 29, 2018, 6:33 pm
Israel Intercepts Aid Boat Bound for Besieged Gaza Strip.
July 29, 2018

A boat loaded with aid for residents in the besieged Gaza Strip has been intercepted by Israeli naval forces.

Al Awda, carrying at least 23 people, was meant to reach the Gaza port approximately at noon local time on Sunday but was redirected instead to the Israeli port of Ashdod.

It was part of a flotilla attempting to break a 12-year-old blockade imposed on the Strip by Israel and neighboring Egypt.

With 16 different nationalities on board, including some Israeli citizens, Al Awda set off from the coast of Palermo in Italy a week ago.

Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford, reporting from Ashdod, said the Israeli army confirmed intercepting a boat that departed from Europe in order to “violate the legal naval blockade that is imposed on the Gaza Strip”.

Although they expected the interception to happen, those on board noted they sailed “as a symbolic means of drawing international attention to the plight of 1.8 million people living in Gaza under that siege,” Stratford said.

He added:

“We know the boat was carrying around $50,000 worth of medical equipment.”

The organizers of the voyage, called Break the Siege committee, condemned in a statement Israel’s interception, demanding that the governments of the people on board take immediate action.

The Israeli army said in a statement it had monitored and intercepted the vessel in accordance with international law, and that any humanitarian assistance that the boat was carrying would be delivered to Gaza.

The journey by Al Awda was the latest in a series of bids aimed at reaching the Strip.

In 2010, an attempt turned deadly when Israeli soldiers stormed the Turkish Mavi Marmara flotilla, killing 10 Turkish nationals.

And in 2015, a flotilla of four boats bound for Gaza was redirected to Ashdod.

It was only in 2008 when two boats carrying 40 people successfully managed to reach the coast of Gaza. At the time, Israel’s foreign ministry said it had provided the flotilla with permission.

Earlier this month, Israel sealed off the Karam Abu Salem border crossing, the primary passageway that transfers necessities to residents of the Strip, saying it was in retaliation over Palestinians setting fire to Israeli land.

Additionally, Gaza’s 4,000 registered fishermen are prohibited by Israel from fishing past six nautical miles off the coast of the Strip, which they say is not enough space to serve some 1,000 boats.

The land, air, and naval blockade has led thousands in Gaza to protest near the fence with Israel in recent weeks. It also prompted residents to set sail from the coast of Gaza in May in a bid to break Israel’s imposed boundary.

For the first time in more than a decade, that boat, which carried at least 25 patients, students, and activists, managed to cross nine nautical miles (16 km) before four Israeli warships flanked it and redirected it to Ashdod.

(AJE, PC, Social Media)

fly bird (26)
Sunday July 29, 2018, 6:53 pm
Freedom Flotilla Boat to Gaza, Al-Awda, hijacked by Israeli occupation forces.

29 July 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 29 July, 2018 13:15pm CESTThe motor vessel Al Awda (The Return), traveling in international waters towards Palestinian waters, 49 nautical miles from the port in Gaza City, has been contacted by the Israeli Occupation Forces navy and warned. The Israeli navy claims our ship is breaking international law and threatens that they will use “any measures necessary” to stop us. In fact, the only “necessary measures” would be to end the blockade of Gaza and restore freedom of movement for all Palestinians. At last news from on board, Al Awda maintains her course towards Gaza, where the crew and participants hope to arrive this evening around 21:00 local time.

A number of warships have appeared, so an attack, boarding and capture appear to be imminent, and we anticipate that all communications with the vessel will be lost shortly.

Al Awda is sailing under a Norwegian flag, carrying 22 people and a cargo of medical supplies, including #Gauze4Gaza. Passengers and crew on board are from 16 nations, including human rights supporters, journalists and crew, along with €13,000 worth of urgently needed medical supplies. The boat itself, a former fishing vessel from Norway, is a gift to Palestinian fishers in Gaza.

Four boats left Scandinavia in mid-May and have since stopped in 28 ports building support for a ‘Just Future for Palestine’, that demands Israel end its ongoing breaches of international law and the twelve-year blockade of Gaza, thereby enabling the only closed port in the Mediterranean to open and for people to have their right to freedom of movement.

Al Awda is being followed by the Swedish-flagged yacht.

Freedom, which is also carrying medical supplies along with people from a number of nations. We anticipate that it will reach a similar area where the IOF attacked Al Awda within the next two days. Two smaller sailing boats that traveled from Scandinavia and sailed through the canal system in Netherlands, Belgium and France visiting inland ports, participated in the mission until Palermo.

“The Freedom Flotilla Coalition calls on the Norwegian Government, the national governments of those aboard Al Awda and the Freedom, other national governments, and relevant international organizations to act immediately.” said Torstein Dahle of Ship to Gaza Norway, part of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition. “The international community must assume its responsibilities and demand that Israeli authorities ensure the safety of those on board, the speedy delivery of our gifts to the Palestinian people in Gaza, an end to the illegal blockade of Gaza, and to stop impeding our legal right of innocent passage to Gaza to deliver our gift of much-needed medical supplies”.

More information about the ‘Right to a Just Future for Palestine’ flotilla and the FFC:

Web: Facebook: Twitter: @gazafflotilla

For US citizens, please call the US Department of State and demand that the State of Israel be held accountable for piracy–and demand that the medical supplies for Gaza on Al Awda be sent from Ashdod harbor to Gaza as provided by international law.

Call/email/tweet for release of US participant Joe Meadors

Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State

Tel: +1 202 647 4000 (ask for Israel & Palestine desk, and American Citizen Services, and/or Operations Center



Twitter: @SecPompeo

Also call:

US Embassy in Israel

U.S. Embassy Jerusalem

14 David Flusser

Jerusalem 9378322, Israel

Phone: 02-630-4000 (ask for Ambassador, American Citizen Services and/or Duty Officer)


Branch Office Tel Aviv

71 HaYarkon Street

Tel Aviv 6343229, Israel

Phone: 03-519-7575 (ask for Ambassador, American Citizen Services and/or Duty Officer)

fly bird (26)
Sunday July 29, 2018, 6:57 pm
CountdownToGaza – Take Action NOW!


Show your support for the Freedom Flotilla boats and the people aboard as they sail towards Gaza, to break the illegal Israeli blockade – #CountdownToGaza. Please share your messages, pictures, videos of support here. There is not enough room aboard our boats for everyone, but you can be a ‘land passenger’ and ensure that the voices of people on the boats and of the Palestinian people of Gaza are not silenced, as we sail to Gaza with our gift of boats and medical supplies.

Other things you can do NOW:

1. Use the resources on our website: to contact your local, regional, or national media. See in particular: About us, FAQ, Participants.

2. Contact your elected representatives and ask them to contact the Israeli Government to demand our unarmed boats, containing medical supplies can travel without interference to Gaza.

3. Follow us:
Facebook: FreedomFlotillaCoalition
Twitter: @GazaFFlotilla
and encourage others to spread the word using hashtags #ShiptoGaza #FreedomFlotilla and #CountdownToGaza. You can also share videos and pictures – there are many on our Facebook page, using those same tags, and if a new post – please @freedomflotillacoalition

4. Hold an activity on or around 28 July (Saturday closest to our estimated approach to Gaza), to demand that our boats be allowed to travel safely to Gaza and that the blockade be ended permanently. Even if you go out with five friends and flags in the streets, TAKE A PHOTO and post it with #CountdownToGaza

5. Donate to one of our campaigns:

Thank you for all that you have done and all that you can do now. Follow our boats’ progress at

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