The latest in a growing number of aid ships attempting to deliver humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, the British-flagged “Irene” departed from Turkish Northern Cyprus today on what is expected to be a 48-hour trip to the beseiged strip.
The Israeli government has been increasingly harsh in enforcing their blockade, culminating in a May 31 attack on a Turkish aid ship Mavi Marmara that left nine aid workers dead. The Irene’s trip has been organized by a Jewish group, “Jews for Justice for Palestinians,” which opposes the blockade.
The group says it is particularly important that they attempt the voyage to show that “not all Jews support Israel’s policies in Gaza.” But the trip also presents a unique problem for Israeli officials, who will have a difficult time selling a violent attack on the ship the way they did in the case of the Mavi Marmara.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry slammed the trip, as it has slammed so many others in the past, as a “provocation,” and insists that the ship has to be boarded because “they could be carrying weaponry.” The ship is expected to arrive in Gaza sometime Tuesday.