Saturday, June 5, 2010
The 1,200-ton MV Rachel Corrie, an Irish aid ship, was seized by the Israeli Naval Forces, as it attempted to challenge the blockade of Gaza. It was seized in international waters, about 20 miles (30 kilometers) from Gaza’s shore.
The military said its forces boarded ship from the sea, not helicopters and didn’t meet any resistance. The Palestine Solidarity Campaign said: “No contact has yet been made with the kidnapped passengers but we have learned that they have been taken to Holon detention centre where they could be deported as early as tonight.”
Passengers include Irishman Dennis Halliday, a former assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Northern Irish Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire, and a group of Irish and Malaysian pro-Palestinian activists.
The ship, named in honor of American peace activist Rachel Corrie, contains support including: toys, school supplies, wheelchairs, medical equipment and cement, a material that Israel has restricted from entry into Gaza. The crew had rejected an offer to unload its cargo in Israel and accompany it across the border.
The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign initially organised the ship. Jenny Graham, a Free Gaza Movement (FGM) activist, assured that everything aboard the ship had been inspected in Ireland. A FGM activist Greta Berlin, based in Cyprus, said: “We are an initiative to break Israel’s blockade of 1.5 million people in Gaza. Our mission has not changed and this is not going to be the last flotilla.”
This comes after the death of nine activists when Israeli commandos raided the ‘Gaza Freedom Flotilla’ that planned to breach the Gaza blockade.