Israel Extends its Illegal Blockade of Gaza to Greece

Jesse Rosenfeld files this story from Crete:

It appears that Israel’s blockade of Gaza has been extended to Greece, as the Greek coastguard is moving decisively to block all Flotilla boats from leaving Greek waters.

The American boat The Audacity of Hope has been intercepted in Greek waters by the coast guard after setting sail from Athens this afternoon. According to passengers on board, the ship had been at sea for an hour when they were intercepted and now they are currently trying to negotiate passage into international waters.

According to Maan News correspondent Maya Gurniary, who is on board the American boat, the Greek coast guard vessel is ten meters away from them and filled with armed riot police. “They are dressed all in black and have teargas launchers,” she says as the sound of activists singing is heard in the background. She describes the mostly middle-aged group as sitting down and holding up peace signs.

In Crete, where the Canadian boat is docked, organizers say police and coast guard authorities have appeared to inspect the boat six times today despite all safety and regulatory matters having been cleared by International Naval Surveys Bureau (INSB) weeks ago. Currently the coast guard is demanding to remove the papers of the Canadian boat, named The Tahrir, which would effectively paralyze it in port as a ships' papers are like its' license plates.

According to David Heap, steering Committee leader on theCanadian boat, this is not a problem with local authorities but “these are orders coming from the top, from the [Greek] Prime Minister’s Office.” The move comes a day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly thanked the Greek Government for their efforts to stop the flotilla.

Canadian boat organizers have recieved orders from the ministry of public order saying no boats, national or otherwise, are to leave from Greece "with the destination of Gaza" according to Heap.

Read the rest at Now Magazine.

AlterNet / By Staff

Posted at July 1, 2011, 9:21am

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