The Israeli navy has been preparing to face the Women's Boats heading to break the ten-year-old siege on the Gaza Strip, Quds Press reported yesterday. The boats, which are part of the Freedom Flotilla Alliance, are expected to arrive in Gaza within three days if they are not impeded in any way.
According to a report on Israel's Channel 2 TV, naval gunships have been waiting in the port of Ashdod ready to move and intercept the Zaytouna and Amal, the two boats making the bid. The TV report claimed that the activists on board the boats have been trained in order to know what to do if they are confronted by the Israeli navy.
Meanwhile, Channel 7 TV said that a group of right-wing Jewish settlers are planning their own flotilla off the coast of Gaza to intercept the Zaytouna and Amal, and oblige them to go to Syria. Refugees there, they argue, are in more need of their support than the Palestinians in Gaza.
Thirty international activists are on the humanitarian mission to Gaza, including the Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire from Northern Ireland, Swedish European Parliament Member Malin Bjork, Marama Davidson, a Green Party MP from New Zealand, and American screenwriter and playwright Naomi Wallace. Turkish athlete Cigdem Topcuoglu, who sailed on the Mavi Marmara in 2010 and whose husband was among the ten activists killed by Israeli commandos, is also on board the Women's Boats to Gaza.