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August 10, 2022

Gaza activists refuse to leave boat, slam Greek tactics

ATHENS – One of the ships in a Gaza-bound flotilla blocked by Greece tried to flee on Monday and was stopped by the Greek Coast Guard. CNN reports. Greece called for the immediate arrest of the ship’s captain, but organizers on the ship insisted they no longer had a captain. The Tahrir was brought to the port of Agios Nikolaos on the Greek island of Crete.

The Tahrir is one of 10 ships trying to head to Gaza despite Israel’s maritime blockade. Last week, the Greek Coast Guard intercepted a U.S. ship in the flotilla, the Audacity of Hope, about 10 minutes after it left Perama, triggering an hours-long standoff.

Greece’s government offered Sunday to ship aid to Gaza – a move the U.N. chief applauded but protest organizers and Palestinian authorities derided as insufficient.

Chief Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erakat said Sunday that funneling food, cement and other goods via other means, such as Greek ships, missed the point, which he said is to “immediately lift, not ease” Israel’s maritime blockade of Gaza. He lauded those behind the flotilla as people “who have dedicated their time, effort and passion for a just cause.”

Israel says its blockade is necessary to try to halt the shipment of weapons into Gaza. Israel also emphasizes that it delivers large amounts of aid to Gaza. The country has mounted a diplomatic offensive to try to stop the flotilla from setting sail.

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