Israel trying to dissuade anti-siege boats from reaching Gaza 2008-08-19 05:44:10   Print

    JERUSALEM, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday tried to dissuade the Free Gaza Movement from sailing boat to break the siege of Gaza, Xinhua has learnt.

    The ministry replied a letter sent by the Free Gaza Movement, saying that the Israeli government "assumes that your intentions are good," but "the result of your action is that you are supporting the regime of a terrorist organization in Gaza."

    Gaza is an area "all foreign vessels to remain clear," the ministry said in a letter, suggesting that the boats choose "agreed-upon channels" and "the Israeli authorities will ensure that the shipment reaches its destination via the land crossing points."

    The Israeli letter also warned that if the Free Gaza Movement do not intend to deliver the humanitarian aid via Israel, it proves that their goal "is political and constitutes the legitimization of a terrorist organization."

    The Free Gaza Movement, a U.S.-based nonviolent organization, will sail in two wooden vessels from Cyprus to the Gaza Strip soon, carrying 40 human rights workers from 17 different countries and medical supplies to protest what they call "the Israeli siege on the strip."

    Earlier on Monday, the Israeli navy has been ordered to turn back the two boats and it was reported by local media on Sunday that Israeli military may use force to block them.

    Media reports said that Israeli defense officials held a series of discussions to deal with the coming boats and vowed that allowing the ships to reach the Gaza coastline could create a dangerous precedent.

    However, the Free Gaza Movement viewed Israeli foreign ministry's Monday letter as a change in its attitude and was obviously not persuaded by the Israeli government.

    In a press release by the organization, it claimed that "it's not clear if the letter from the (Israeli) Ministry of Foreign Affairs signals a change of policy, or is simply an attempt to open up an official dialogue."

    Greta Berlin, one of the organizers of the Free Gaza Movement, said that "since the (Israeli) Foreign Minister's office responded to our invitation to join us, and said that we have good intentions, we now fully expect to reach Gaza."

    The Free Gaza Movement said they will use the human rights mission to raise international awareness about the Gaza's situation. 

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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