International activists are planning to dispatch a new aid flotilla to the Gaza Strip in an attempt to break the years-long Israeli siege of the impoverished coastal enclave.
The Free Gaza Movement said Tuesday that the target date for the convoy’s departure is May 31– the first anniversary of Tel Aviv’s deadly attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, the Associated Press reported.
Nine Turkish activists were killed on that date in 2010 after Israeli commandos attacked the aid convoy in international waters of the Mediterranean Sea.
The new 15-ship flotilla will be twice as big as last year’s convoy and carry a total of 1,500 people, including activists from Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Latin America, Canada and the United States, to the coastal sliver.
An international coalition of 22 non-governmental groups is to organize the event.
Israel has already warned that it may again use force against the aid ship to prevent it from breaking the Gaza blockade.
Tel Aviv laid an economic siege on the Gaza Strip in June 2007 after the democratically-elected government of Hamas took control of the enclave.
The illegal Israeli-imposed blockade has had a disastrous impact on the humanitarian and economic situation in the area.
Some 1.5 million people are being denied their basic rights, including freedom of movement, and their rights to appropriate living conditions, work, health and education.
At the turn of 2009, the Israeli military launched a deadly assault on Gaza, killing at least 1,400 Palestinians including many women and children.
Half of Gaza’s infrastructure was destroyed and remains unrepaired as a result of Israel’s siege, which includes a ban on the entry of building materials into the region.