30 May 2010 08:42
The blockade on Gaza was an international decision, and will be lifted by a similar decision “by the heroes on board the Freedom Flotilla,” said deposed Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh on Saturday.
“The siege will be circumvented in all cases. If the flotilla arrives in Gaza, that will be a victory for both Gaza and the activists on board, and if it is blocked by pirates, it will also be a victory because Israel will face a political scandal at international level,” he said, as the flotilla hopes to weigh anchor in Gaza City’s port on Sunday.
Haniyeh’s further announced that all preparations to receive the Freedom Flotilla had been complete, as it set sail from Cyprus earlier Sunday.
“The siege on Gaza and conspiracies against the people of Gaza must come to an end and it will because even Israel is not able to justify the siege anymore. The Israelis themselves say the siege brought misery to Israel and created a revolution in the sea,” said Haniyeh.
Haniyeh called on the international community and organizations to support the fleet and “protect it from Israel’s piracy … This is the right moment for those who support justice and defend the oppressed.”
Earlier on Saturday, EU Foreign Policy chief Catherine Ashton urged “restraint and responsibility” from Israel and the Freedom Flotilla, as ships set sail from Cyprus en route to Gaza City.
Israeli warships are set to intercept the aid fleet, some nine ships loaded with 600 solidarity activists, as the activist group insists on proceeding to the Gaza port.
Meanwhile, the Associated Press reported that the number of boats has dwindled from eight to five, while the fleet was being held up near Cyprus as organizers try to get more than two dozen high-profile activists on board.
The would-be passengers, including 17 European legislators and a Holocaust survivor, were expected to join the ships from Cyprus. Organizer Greta Berlin said Saturday the Cypriot government is not allowing smaller boats to carry the group to the flotilla waiting in international waters