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Israel stops Gaza aid boat organised by European Jewish groups

Tuesday, September 28, 2010 10:19:27 PM, Agencies

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An aid ship carrying eight Jewish activists from Europe, Israel, and the US was apprehended by the Israeli navy just miles off the coast of Gaza after being warned by a warship.
 

The voyage was organised by European Jewish groups to condemn "collective punishment against 1.5 million Palestinians".
 

Navy commandos boarded the Irene, and then the passengers were led off the boat.

Rich Cooper, an organiser with Independent Jewish Voices, told Al Jazeera that his group is now demanding the immediate release of the activists.

The ship had left the port of Famagusta in Turkish-held northern Cyprus on Sunday afternoon.

The Israeli army had said it would offer to transfer the ship's aid supplies to the port of Ashdod and then ask the crew to turn back.

Ehud Barak, Israel's defence minister, had repeatedly warned that Israel will intercept any ship nearing Gaza, which is governed by the Palestinian group Hamas.

"In the tradition of the civil rights movement ... we assert our right to continue to Gaza under international law," Glyn Secker, the Irene's captain, told Al Jazeera on Monday.

The 10-metre catamaran was tiny in comparison with the six-ship May 31 aid convoy that contained 10,000 tonnes of aid and over 700 activists.

But the voyage was a gesture by left-leaning European Jewish groups to highlight what they see as a flawed Israeli policy of collective punishment against 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza.

Reuven Moskovitz, an 82-year-old Holocaust survivor among the passengers on the British-flagged vessel, is a founding member of the Jewish-Arab village Neve Shalom (Oasis of Peace).

"We are two peoples, but we have one future," Moskovitz said in a statement on the Jewish Boat to Gaza website.
 

 

 

 

 

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