Jamal el Shayyal / Al Jazeera – 2011-07-06 23:57:30
(July 6, 2011) — We bring you the latest news from various sources on the Freedom Flotilla’s mission to deliver aid to the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip.
Israel Dispatches Police to Airport in Response to Palestinian “Fly-in” — 6 hours 3 min ago — Israel
Israeli police have been deployed to the country’s international airport at Tel Aviv in anticipation of the arrival of hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists. This Friday, July 8, hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists are planning to fly to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport in a display of solidarity with Palestinians living in the occupied territories.
According to organisers, at least 500 people have already scheduled flights to Israel, including Palestinians that will fly from Europe, North and South America, Africa and Asia. The “fly in”, as organisers are referring to the action, will bring protesters to Tel Aviv where they will all arrive within a two-hour period.
8 hours 24 min ago — Freedom Flotilla, Greece
For days now, the government of Greece has been blocking international aid boats from setting sail towards Gaza. And now activists from the so-called Gaza Flotilla are taking matters into their own hands. They’re holed up inside the Spanish embassy in Athens, demanding that the Spanish government intervene.
Gaza Flotilla Activists Occupy Spanish Embassy — 8 hours 24 min ago
For days now, the government of Greece has been blocking international aid boats from setting sail towards Gaza. And now activists from the so-called Gaza Flotilla are taking matters into their own hands. They’re holed up inside the Spanish embassy in Athens, demanding that the Spanish government intervene. Al Jazeera’s Jamal el Shayyal reports from Athens.
Dutch Journalists Banned from El Al — 16 hours 57 min ago – Israel
Two Dutch journalists were not allowed to baord a flight from Amsterdam to Tel Aviv late yesterday. Security Correspondent Bud Wichers and Photographer Ettora Hesseling, who are both working for an International news agency, recently covered the preparation of the Dutch Flotilla activists from Greece.
They intended to sail with flotilla, but backed out after a disagreement between the Dutch organizers and Dutch journalists. They were told by a staff member of El Al Airlines, an Israeli company, that that they would pose a serious flight risk, and for that reason could not board the plane.
“We wanted to tell both sides of the Flotilla story and scheduled interviews with Israelis who oppose the action of the activists,” said Wichers. “Later on, we wanted to go to Gaza to see how Israel is bringing aid to the people there. Israel denied us the opportunity to tell their side of the story. Instead we are labeled terrorists now, even though Netanyahu’s office specifically said they would not target journalists who covered the Freedom Flotilla 2.” Wichers has worked numerous times in the Israel and the Palestinian areas and covered the Middle East for over 10 years.
17 hours 11 min ago — Greece
The AFP reports that human rights campaigners said a second boat would try to leave Greek waters to challenge Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza on Wednesday, joining a French yacht that left a day earlier.
The Juliano, flying a Sierra Leonean flag and hired by Greek, Norwegian and Swedish activists, would try and leave the port of Perama, near Athens, Maria Norden, a Social Democrat deputy from Sweden, told AFP. “All our on-board papers are in order, we are going to try to leave today,” she said by phone. “We are waiting clearance from the Greek authorities.”
Greek officials turned back the boat on Tuesday afternoon under the terms of a ban imposed on any vessel bound for Gaza, she said. Norden is one of six passengers on the vessel, part of what had been a group of 10 ships hoping to join the flotilla and bring aid to Palestinians in Gaza. Greece has justified its decision to stop them leaving by saying it is for their own safety.
The MV Dignite/Al Karama, which left Greek waters early on Tuesday, is heading slowly towards Gaza, a spokesperson for the French Boat to Gaza campaign told AFP. Activists on board the French boat were still hoping to would be joined by others from the ill-fated flotilla which had been due to set sail last week.
19 hours 49 min ago – Greece
This video was contributed by activists on board the Canadian ship from the Gaza-bound aid flotilla, depicting the Greek coast guard taking over the ship as it headed for international waters. The ship attempted to leave Greek waters on July 4th.