A flotilla bound for Gaza carrying food, medicine and other humanitarian aid was intercepted and seized by the Israeli Navy on October 5. The Women’s Boat to Gaza had set sail from the Spanish port city of Barcelona in mid-September in an effort to break the ongoing Israeli blockade of Gaza, Democracy Now! said on October 12.
Organisers say the Israeli military seized the boat and detained the 13 human rights activists aboard in international waters about 65km away from Gaza’s shore. The Israeli military towed the boat to the Israeli port of Ashdod and detained the women for up to four days before deporting them.
A passenger on the boat, retired Army colonel and former US diplomat Ann Wright, spoke to Democracy Now! about the mission, and Israeli actions: “The mission of the Women’s Boat to Gaza was to bring international attention to the continuing Israeli blockade, naval and land blockade of Gaza. “This 25-mile-long tiny strip, five miles wide, with 1.9 million people living in it, [suffers] a brutal blockade that controls all the electricity, the food … everything to come into Gaza has to come through Israeli hands now.”
Wright pointed out that the US government has just given the Israeli military US$38 billion “in military and other type of aid, which will be used to hammer the Palestinians both in Gaza and in the West Bank”. She said this would be “used in the training fields of the Israeli military, which are in Gaza. Gaza is the place where military experiments are done, using US military weaponry and done by the — by the IDF”.