The Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz is reporting that another Free Gaza mission is on its way to the Gaza Strip.
The ship set sail from Ireland and is carrying 15 activists, including Nobel peace laureate Mairead Maguire.
On May 30, six ships carrying more than 600 people and aid for the Gaza Strip were stopped by Israeli forces. Violence broke out and anywhere from 9 to 16 people were killed, with dozens more injured.
It remains unclear whether it was the activists or the Israeli soldiers who made the first act of aggression.
In September 2009, Maguire spoke to the Straight about her experiences with the Free Gaza Movement and her thoughts on the Gaza Strip.
“The people of Gaza are not allowed cement, building materials; children have returned to schools with no pencils and no writing material: all of these things have been prohibited by the Israelis from being allowed into Gaza,” Maguire said. “We have to break the siege of Gaza that Israel is putting on because the children are suffering.”
In January 2006, Hamas won parliamentary elections in the Palestinian territories. Since then, Israel has enforced a blockade around Gaza, restricting the movement of goods, according to UN reports.
BBC News is reporting that UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon is blaming the blockade for the deaths aboard the flotilla.
"Had Israelis heeded to my call and to the call of the international community by lifting the blockade of Gaza, this tragic incident would not have happened," the head of the UN was quoted as saying.
The Free Gaza Movement’s stated goals are to provide Gaza’s 1.5 million residents with aid, and to break Israel’s blockade of the territory.
Haaretz's report states that Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen told his country's parliament, "The government has formally requested the Israeli government to allow the Irish-owned ship...to be allowed to complete its journey unimpeded and discharge its humanitarian cargo in Gaza."
Meanwhile, the Israel Defense Force pledged to halt the latest ship, leading to speculation that another violent confrontation could occur.
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