Israel has officially announced that it would not allow a new aid convoy, which entirely consists of Jewish human rights campaigners, to reach the Gaza Strip.
The Jewish activists onboard the Irene "will be stopped" and taken to the Israeli port of Ashdod, foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said on Monday.
The activists from Israel, Germany, the UK and the US, set sail from northern Cyprus on Sunday to break Tel Aviv’s crippling blockade on the coastal enclave.
Eight activists, three of them crew members, and two journalists aboard the small British-flagged sailing boat have stressed that their mission is peaceful.
"We have a policy of non-violence and non-confrontation," said former Israeli pilot Yonatan Shapira, who is on board the convoy. "But if the Israeli army stops the boat, we will not help them to take it to Ashdod."
The activists said they plan to raise multi-colored flags bearing the names of dozens of Jews who support their action as the vessel nears Gaza.
"The boat’s cargo includes symbolic aid in the form of children’s toys and musical instruments, textbooks, fishing nets for Gaza’s fishing communities and prosthetic limbs for orthopedic medical care in Gaza’s hospitals," the organizers said.
In May, Israeli commandos stormed the international aid convoy, the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, carrying aid supplies for the besieged people of Gaza.
The assault in international waters left nine Turkish activists dead and dozens of others injured.
The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli siege since June 2007, which has deprived 1.5 million residents of the coastal sliver of food, fuel and other basic life necessities.