Defiant Gaza flotilla vows to sail Monday

July 3, 2011 at 8:10 AM
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ATHENS, Greece, July 3 (UPI) -- Despite being barred from leaving Greek ports for Gaza with Palestinian relief supplies, flotilla organizers vowed Sunday to set sail Monday.

Of the 10 ships bound for Gaza from various countries, eight were detained Friday by the Greek government. Greek Foreign Minister Stavros Lambrinidis said in light of Israel's opposition to the flotilla, there would be a "humanitarian disaster" if the vessels came under fire from the Israeli navy, Haaretz reported.

Adam Shapiro, a U.S. co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement, told The Jerusalem Post by telephone the mission would proceed.

"We are still arranging to go and are working on different fronts to get permission to leave," Shapiro said.

Two of the ships were out of commission due to technical problems and organizers have alleged sabotage.

Sunday, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak issued a statement praising Greece and other countries for "positive developments" in hindering the controversial flotilla, the Post said.

"The governments of Greece, Cyprus, and Turkey are active in thwarting it," Barak said.

The United States, European Union and United Nations have called for the pro-Palestinian flotilla members to dock in Israeli or Egyptian ports, but organizers have refused.

A year ago in a similar flotilla aid attempt, nine activists were killed when Israeli commandos stormed their ship.

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