Israel’s Navy says it will not allow a new international flotilla of ships to break the blockade on the impoverished Gaza Strip and reached the coastal sliver.
Speaking at a ceremony marking the completion of Israeli navy’s submarine training course on Sunday, Navy head Vice Admiral Eliezer Marom said Israel’s navy is going ahead with preparations to stop a planned flotilla slated to attempt to break the blockade on Gaza in two weeks, Ha’aretz reported on Monday.
Marom added that the flotilla’s goal is to "cause a confrontation” with Israeli soldiers. He also said that “de-legitimization of Israel" is another objective of the flotilla activists.
He called on world leaders to "impose all their authority to prevent the departure of this needless, provocative flotilla."
The vice admiral, however, failed to notice that the Israeli-imposed blockade on the Gaza Strip has been internationally recognize as illegitimate and condemned for turning the strip into an “open-air prison.”
Some 1,500 activists are expected to take part in a convoy that will sail for Gaze at the end of June. The convoy aims to break the blockade of the Gaza Strip one year after a deadly Israeli raid on a similar fleet.
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 people who were part of the team on the six-ship convoy.
Israel also arrested and later released nearly 700 activists from 42 countries that were onboard the Freedom Flotilla, which was attempting to break the siege of Gaza to deliver 10,000 tons of humanitarian relief aid to Gazans.
Israel laid an economic siege on Gaza in June 2007, after Hamas took control of the strip. The blockade has had a disastrous impact on the humanitarian and economic situation in the Strip.
Some 1.5 million people are being denied their basic rights, including the freedom of movement, and the right to appropriate living conditions, work, health and education.
Poverty and unemployment rates stand at approximately 80 percent and 60 percent, respectively, in the Gaza Strip.