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Gaza flotilla ship 'sabotaged' days before expected arrival

June 25, 2015 7:52 P.M. (Updated: June 26, 2015 12:47 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- One of the ships taking part in a flotilla headed towards the Gaza Strip was sabotaged south of Crete, an activist aboard one of the ships said Thursday.

Israeli-born Swedish activist Dror Feiler told Nazareth-based al-Shams radio that the ship had been sabotaged by professionals, and would have sunk if sailed at sea.

"Somebody went underneath the ship at night and sabotaged its propellers, just like they sabotaged the same ship in 2011,” Fieler said referring to similar damage that was inflicted upon a ship participating in a previous flotilla.

Feiler, who relinquished his Israeli citizenship after moving to Sweden, boarded the trawler Marianne of Gothenburg in Sweden with 18 other activists six weeks ago. The crew had refrained from stopping at European ports prior to avoid being held by authorities, but their trip was cut short after realizing that they might have drowned had they continued.

Despite the sabotage, the remainder of the flotilla convoy will move as planned with the ships expected arrive in Gaza in succession within three days, Feiler said.

The flotilla is the third of it's kind to attempt to access the Gaza Strip by sea since 2010, aiming break the nearly nine-year Israeli blockade causing what is termed by rights organizations as a humanitarian crisis for the strip's 1.8 million residents.

In May 2010, Israeli forces staged a raid on a six-ship flotilla which ended in bloodshed, claiming the lives of 10 Turkish rights activists and sparked a crisis with Ankara.

The participation in this year's flotilla of Palestinian Knesset member Bassel Ghattas sparked an outcry among right wing members of the Knesset, Israel's parliament, who called for Ghattas to be stripped of immunity from prosecution for joining.

Similar response was given to Palestinian MK Hanin Zoabi who took part in the 2010 flotilla, when Israeli minister Miri Regev accused Zoabi for "joining terrorists."

Israeli leaders say that joining efforts to break the Israeli military blockade of Gaza is directly working against the security of Israel.

"It is the gravest thing possible that an Israeli MP would join the flotilla whose aim is to help the Hamas terror organisation," said Israeli Immigration Minister Zeev Elkin from the ruling right-wing Likud party earlier this week.

Ghattas will be joined by the former Tunisian president, European lawmakers, and activists in what the Freedom Flotilla Coalition described as "a peaceful, nonviolent action to break the illegal and inhumane blockade of the Gaza Strip."

Comments
Donald McCleod / Canada
Strange that there is no name published of the ship whose propellers were allegedly sabotaged. Who is kidding who?
26/06/2015 19:26
Gerry / Republicof Ireland
Donald, I think you will find that Mr. Feiler (the activist who relinquished his Israeli citizenship) named this trawler as being the "Marianne of "Gothenburg" in the 4th. paragraph of the report.
27/06/2015 02:29
Donals McCleod / Canada
Gerry, surely a flotilla consists of more than one boat? And re the 4th para, the Marianne stopped at at least 5 European ports. So the question remains, who is kidding who?
27/06/2015 21:22
Lord Lucan / Lesotho
@ Gerry: your reference to the 4th. paragraph of the report, but
the Marianne has stopped at Copenhagen, Brest, Galicia, Lisbon, Palermo, and Messina. All European ports, who is kidding who?
28/06/2015 00:19
Colin Smith / UK
That's not clear. In one account the Marianne left Crete early, probably to evade the heroic IDF saboteurs, yet this article implies that shows sabotaged. I have a friend on the Marianne, so I'd like to know for sure. A damaged prop can be fixed quite quickly and easily. Hopefully they have a spare.
28/06/2015 01:54
Wilhelm / Sweden
This Dror Feiler is is a chapter in itself. His way to bring peace to come through, "I am president of the association" Jews for Israeli-Palestinian Peace "in Sweden and the European organization" European Jews for a Just Peace ". I am also one of initiative promoters of Gaza and is one of the Ship to Gaza spokesperson. "ALWAYS "I" ...
28/06/2015 22:07
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