Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called on the United Nations to stop a flotilla seeking to break Tel Aviv’s blockade of the Gaza Strip.
Netanyahu told UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Friday that the flotilla, scheduled to head toward the Gaza Strip in May, is being organized by “elements whose aim is to create a provocation and bring about a conflagration,” AFP reported.
The Free Gaza Movement, a coalition of human rights activists and pro-Palestinian groups, has announced that a flotilla, comprising about 15 ships with activists from 25 countries on board, will set sail to Gaza in May on the first anniversary of the Israeli attack on a Gaza-bound Turkish ship.
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 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 Gaza Strip.
Some 1.5 million people are being denied their basic rights, including the freedom of movement, and the rights 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.