Channel 10 Israeli TV reports (Hebrew) along with Israel Radio that the first ships of the massive Gaza flotilla are expected to depart shortly (by now they may already have left port) from Scotland. They will meet with the rest of the group of blockade-running ships on the high seas later this month, in an attempt to be the first ships in two years to make it through. Israel has vowed to stop them with whatever means necessary, which promises to set up a similar confrontation to the one that led to the massacre almost one year ago on the Mavi Marmara.
The Turkish Muslim relief group IHH is once again dispatching the tragic Mavi Marmara to join the campaign along with approximately 14 other ships, more than twice the number of the last flotilla. The mayor of Haifa had hoped to turn it into a gambling casinso or some such, but Israel was prevailed upon to return it to IHH, its rightful owners.
I hope Turkey will do more to protect its citizens this time. Its foreign minister has explicitly told Israel it will not accept the same type of “provocation” which occurred last year. Given that the Turkish ruling party has just won a resounding election victory, I would suspect that Prime Minister Erdogan is not about the allow Israel to assault its citizens on the high seas. This should be very interesting.
I’m guessing that Bibi, realizing the UN statehood vote is coming up in September, may allow the boats to pass. To assault them would bring Israel into even greater disrepute than it already is. But I’ve learned never to presume Israel will do the rational or reasonable thing when stubbornness and pig-headedness will do.
I wish Mary Hughes Thompson and all the voyagers a safe trip and safe passage to Gaza.