Swedish anti-Israel group sets sail for Gaza

Anti-Israel organization Ship to Gaza is sending activists to Gaza to protest Israel’s perceived blockade of the Hamas-controlled, terror-ridden Strip.

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News

Marianne of Gothenburg, a ship sailing to Gaza to break the Israeli blockade on the Strip, left Sweden on Sunday, Ship to Gaza, the anti-Israel group organizing the flotilla, announced.

Marianne, with its 13-member crew, is slated to join other ships to form what they call Freedom Flotilla III, “a peaceful, nonviolent action to break the illegal and inhumane blockade of the Gaza Strip,” the organization stated. The ship was purchased by Ship to Gaza’s Swedish and Norwegian branches.

“On its way, Marianne will call at many European [ports] and will serve as a focus for demonstrations and manifestations against the blockade,” the statement read.

The first three ports will be Helsingborg, Malmö and Copenhagen.

The organization said it will bring “limited cargo, including solar panels and medical equipment.”

Israel imposed a maritime blockade on Gaza after the Hamas terror organization took control of the Strip in 2007. The blockade is intended to prevent Hamas from importing weapons and materials used to build terror infrastructure.

There have been other attempts by pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel organizations to breech the naval blockade on Gaza’s shores. The most famous occurred in May 2010, when the Turkish Mavi Marmara ship from the socalled Gaza Freedom Flotilla was boarded by Israeli Navy commandos trying to force the ship into the port of Ashdod and away from Gaza, in compliance with the blockade. The ship’s passengers assaulted the IDF soldiers with metal bars and knives, and nine of the anti-Israel activists died in the struggle; many others were wounded. Ten Israeli Navy commandos were injured as well, one seriously, and some were taken captive during the clash. Five other “Gaza Freedom Flotilla” ships were nearby at the time, which employed passive resistance. All of the ships were towed to Israel, where all those on board were arrested and deported.

Though much of the focus on the issue is turned towards the Israeli side of the Gaza border, Egypt has imposed a much-harsher blockade for the same security-related reasons.