Organizers of a humanitarian aid flotilla to the Gaza Strip say Israel has attempted to stop them by sabotaging the convoy.
The flotilla members said a joint Greek, Swedish and Norwegian boat was found sabotaged with serious damage to its propeller, a Press TV correspondent reported on Tuesday.
The flotilla activists suspect that Israeli agents were responsible for the damage.
On Monday, the international coalition organizing the Freedom Flotilla II held a press conference in Athens with representatives from all of the boats. The US was represented by Ann Wright, a former State Department official, and Alice Walker, an African-American author.
“We have learned that an Israeli law center financed by an American conservative, religious group, headed by John Hagee, is funding the attack on the Gaza flotilla. We call on the Greek government to let us sail,” Wright said.
The Israeli military attacked the Freedom Flotilla in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea on May 31, 2010, killing nine Turkish nationals aboard the Turkish-flagged MV Mavi Marmara and injuring about 50 other activists that were part of the team on the six-ship convoy.
The activists dismissed Israel’s demands that any aid for Gaza be delivered through its crossing points and inspected by its military. The flotilla organizers have accepted that teams representing the United Nations or the European Union check the cargo.
Activists on a Canadian boat to Gaza have been discussing how to deal with an attack by the Israeli military in international waters.
David Heap of the Canadian boat said the members of the flotilla are prepared to face threats “non-violently with determination.”
Our correspondent says the flotilla will be delayed for at least a few days as repairs are carried out and inspections are completed.
However, the passengers remain upbeat and believe the momentum is still on their side. The freedom flotilla could be meeting in the international waters of the Mediterranean Sea by the weekend.