"Freedom Flotilla 3," a maritime challenge to Israel's legal naval blockade on the coastal enclave of Gaza which is controlled by the Hamas terrorist organization, is preparing to embark in the final week of June and threatens to potentially cause a flare-up like the infamous 2010 Mavi Marmara.
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.
He claimed that symbolic humanitarian materials will be loaded on board the ships to demand Gaza's naval entry be opened – despite the fact that Israel is allowing hundreds of truckloads of humanitarian and construction materials to enter Gaza border crossings every day, even as Hamas rebuilds its terror tunnels for the next round of fighting.
The equipment to be loaded on the ships include solar receptors, children's medicines and medical equipment.
Leaders of the flotilla estimate that Israel will once again block the naval breach and defend its maritime blockade, but they expressed optimism that they would be able to eventually reach Gaza and open a water route for Hamas that Israel has warned would serve as a port for Iran on the Mediterranean.
In the 2010 flotilla, the Turkish 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 ten 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 – indicating how the true goal of the provocative move was to open Gaza to free naval access, which it has consistently used to smuggle in weapons to be targeted against Israel.