The Israeli navy forces have attacked and boarded a ship en route to Gaza strip, carrying aid and pro-Palestinian activists who were trying to break Israel’s maritime blockade against the region. The Finnish-flagged Estelle, which left Naples on 7 October with some 20 people of eight different nationalities aboard, was seized by the Israeli forces and taken to the port of Ashdod on Saturday. The Estelle, which is reportedly carrying a cargo including cement and medical supplies, was boarded 30 nautical miles off the coast of Gaza, activists said.
“Israeli warships surrounded the Estelle and the assault on the peaceful ship started,” a statement from Ship to Gaza, an organization affiliated with the mission, said.The passengers on the ship, the Estelle, included five members of European parliaments and a former Canadian lawmaker. “We have no confirmation from them of how they are, and we may not for some time hear directly from them,” David Heap, an activist connected to the movement said. The Israeli regime denies about 1.7 million people in Gaza their basic rights, including the freedom of movement and the right to decent living, work, health and education. The Estelle was the latest of more than a dozen ships that had tried to break the blockade since 2010. On May 31, 2010, Israeli forces attacked the Gaza-bound humanitarian Freedom Flotilla in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea, killing nine Turkish nationals aboard Turkey’s Mavi Marmara and injuring about 50 other activists who were part of the six-ship convoy. Also in November 2011, a Canadian and an Irish yacht were prevented by Israeli forces in the international waters to transport pro-Palestinian activists and medical supplies to Gaza. DB/PG/JR/AZ