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New aid ship "heading for Gaza, not El-Arish"

A member of Israel's parliament, the Knesset, has claimed that the latest Gaza-bound aid ship that set sail from Greece over the weekend is definitely heading for the beleaguered Gaza Strip. Ahmed Al-Tibi said that the Egyptian port of El-Arish is not the intended destination of the ship organised by a Libyan charity.

Mr. Al-Tibi, who heads the Knesset's two Arab blocs (United Arab List and the Arab Bloc for Change), echoed the Gaddafi Foundation's statements that the ship has two messages: one is humanitarian, with its cargo of medicine and food; the other is political – "the land and sea blockade on Gaza can't continue".

"This is a political statement that puts Gaza back into the international spotlight," he said. "The organizers in the Gaddafi [International Charity and Development] Foundation stress that this is not meant to be a provocative move; they don't intend to confront [Israeli forces] or use violence. If the ship is stopped by the Israeli navy, no violence will be used by the passengers and crew."

If, as is expected, the ship ends up in Israeli custody in the port of Ashdod, Mr. Al-Tibi asked, "When it is discovered in Ashdod that the ship is not carrying weapons or banned items, why won't it be permitted to carry on and sail to Gaza?"

Following a request from the head of the Popular Committee Against the Siege, Jama Al-Khudari, the Knesset member provided a list of the specific needs of the people of Gaza to the Gaddafi Foundation, including medicine, baby food and electricity generators.

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