18 June 2010 — A senior Israeli military official has warned the Beirut government against allowing an aid ship to depart Lebanon for the besieged Gaza Strip.”I say clearly to the government of Lebanon: You are responsible for the sea vessels leaving your ports with a clear and known intention of trying to break the naval blockade on Gaza,” Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Thursday.
The warning came days after a group of female Lebanese activists announced a plan to send an aid ship loaded with medical supplies to Gaza.
Israel said that its navy would not allow the boat to reach Gaza.
“The Lebanese government has responsibility for such vessels leaving its ports … as their cargo that could result later in a violent and dangerous clash if the ship refuses to come to Ashdod (port),” Barak said.
The organizers of the aid convoy say 50 Lebanese and foreign activists would be aboard the ship.
“We are all independent women who believe in breaking the siege on Gaza,” said Samar Hajj, who is coordinating the trip.
Israeli forces on May 31 attacked the multinational Freedom Flotilla relief mission, which had set sail to break Tel Aviv’s siege of the Gaza Strip. The assault in international waters left at least 20 human rights campaigners dead and over 40 other injured.
The attack on the Freedom Flotilla has provoked ferocious international condemnation of Israel.
Hezbollah Secretary General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah praises the activists aboard the Freedom Flotilla for their “courage” and “humanitarian efforts.”
“We saw the Gaza Flotilla, and I saw courage and the scenes of responsibility. This Gaza aid convoy was heading to break the inhumane siege which has been imposed on Gaza,” Nasrallah said on Thursday.
“We must salute all who participated in the Gaza aid convoy and all who supported them as well and we must take a bow before them,” the Lebanese leader said.
The Freedom Flotilla, which was carrying food and medical supplies to the Gaza Strip, came under fire early Monday morning by Israeli navy forces in international waters more than 150 km (90 miles) off the coast of Gaza.
Twenty international activists are reported to have been killed and 50 others injured in the incident.
The killings prompted the international community to condemn Israel for the inhumane incident.
Nasrallah also called on the people of Lebanon to stage a gathering in support of the besieged residents of Gaza on Friday.
The Hezbollah leader said they confronted all challenges the Flotilla faced with perseverance and solidarity.