A new flotilla is on its way to Gaza – and MK Basel Ghattas (United List) said Sunday that he planned on joining it. In a letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Ghattas said he would travel to Athens to join Freedom Flotilla III, due to attempt to breach the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza in the last week of June.
Mazen Kahil, head of the European Campaign to Break the Siege on Gaza, told the Hamas journal Palestine on Saturday that the flotilla ships are currently in the Mediterranean Sea.
The ships are waiting to join the Swedish ship Marianne, which recently anchored in Italy, on the open sea, and from there continue as a unified group towards Gaza, where they intend to confront the Israeli Navy – potentially with lethal force, as was seen in the Marmara.
Kahil detailed that senior public figures, including former Tunisian President Muncef Marzouki, members of the European Parliament, journalists, athletes, artists, as well as radical leftist Israelis will be on board.
In his letter to Netanyahu, Gattas wrote that the flotilla was “a civilian attempt to break the blockade of Gaza. This is a flotilla of peace which seeks to draw attention to the difficult situation of 1.8 million Palestinians, who live in an open-air prison under horrendous conditions, the result of the land, sea, and air blockade put up by Israel. This is nothing but a collective punishment, and a gross violation of human rights,” he wrote.
In his letter, Gattas warned Netanyahu against trying to use the Israeli Navy to take control of the flotilla's ships. “Any action of that type will further embroil Israel in controversy and strengthen the international crisis, with the Prime Minister and his government taking full responsibility for the outcome.”
Arab MK Hanin Zouabi participated in the infamous 2010 flotilla attack, in which terrorists aboard the Mavi Marmara attempted to kill IDF soldiers. Zoabi has said she doesn't regret taking part in the flotilla, which attempted to illegally break the IDF's blockade on the terrorist organization Hamas in Gaza. Nine Islamist terrorists were killed after attacking Israeli commandos that boarded the ship, and in 2013 the High Court rejected a petition by former MK Michael Ben-Ari and Attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir to have her tried for sedition for taking part in the flotilla.
In the 2010 flotilla, the Mavi Marmara, which claimed to be providing "humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza," defied orders to turn around and dock at the Ashdod port. After it ignored repeated warnings to change course, the IDF boarded the vessel – only to be attacked by Islamist extremists on board wielding knives and metal bars.
The wounded soldiers had no choice but to open fire, resulting in the deaths of nine of the IHH members on board.
After an investigation, Israeli authorities discovered the vessel to be carrying no humanitarian aid – in fact, no aid supplies at all.