JERUSALEM – As activists prepare a flotilla of boats to break Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza, Israel’s foreign minister Tuesday accused participants of “looking for blood”.
Speaking to Israel radio Avigdor Liberman said that following the country’s intense diplomatic campaign to thwart the activist flotilla the majority of those initially planning on participating were “convinced by our explanations regarding the humanitarian situation in Gaza.” The comments came after the Israeli military claimed it had information that some of the flotilla participants were threatening to kill Israeli military personnel should their boats be boarded and that some passenger were stockpiling “considerable amounts” of sulphuric acid to be used in attacks on Israeli commandos.
Flotilla activists, many of whom are gathered in Greece, fervently denied the charges calling them “patently false and absurd.”
Israeli expat Dror Feiler addresses claims some activists intend to harm IDF soldiers, says participants signed nonviolence pledge, undergoing training for passive resistance. According to Feiler, the flotilla ships are carrying 600 tons of cement, an ambulance, a school that needs assembling, 600 footballs, welding machines and parts for water purifications pumps. At a news conference in Athens on Monday, the group of some 400 activists that included European MPs, a former CIA analyst and a 75-year Holocaust survivor, professors and authors complained that Greece was bowing to pressure from Israel and using bureaucratic tactics to try to block their departure.
The flotilla, expected to sail soon, intends to challenge Israel’s maritime blockade of Gaza.