JERUSALEM – Pro-Palestinian activists sent another boat to challenge Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip on Tuesday and Egypt declared it was temporarily opening a crossing into the Palestinian territory after a raid on an aid flotilla that ended with Israeli soldiers killing nine activists.
The raid provoked ferocious international condemnation of Israel, raised questions at home, and appeared likely to increase pressure to end the blockade that has deepened the poverty of the 1.5 million Palestinians in the strip.
Turkey, which unofficially supported the flotilla, has led the criticism, calling the Israeli raid a “bloody massacre” and demanding that Washington condemn the raid. The White House has reacted cautiously, calling for disclosure of all the facts.
Amid the increasing tensions, the Israeli military said it carried out an airstrike in Gaza on Tuesday, and an Islamic militant group said three of its members were killed after firing rockets into southern Israel. Israeli authorities say the rockets landed in open areas and caused no injuries.
Two militants infiltrating into Israel from Gaza were killed in a separate incident Tuesday, the military said.
In other violence, Israeli hospital officials said an American woman lost her eye during a demonstration Monday in Jerusalem against the naval raid. Emily Henochowicz of Maryland was in intensive care after undergoing surgery, said hospital spokeswoman Yael Bossem-Levy. Witnesses said Henochowicz, 21, was hit by a tear gas canister in the face while Palestinian youths were throwing rocks, although she was standing at a distance.
Greta Berlin said the Free Gaza Movement, which organized the flotilla, would not be deterred and that another cargo boat was off the coast of Italy en route to Gaza. A second boat carrying about three dozen passengers is expected to join it, Berlin said. She said the two boats would arrive in the region late this week or early next week.
“This initiative is not going to stop,” she said from the group’s base in Cyprus. “We think eventually Israel will get some kind of common sense. They’re going to have to stop the blockade of Gaza, and one of the ways to do this is for us to continue to send the boats.”
The Israeli military refused to say how it would respond to the arrival of new Gaza-bound ships. But Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said, “there is no change in policy” and urged activists to send the aid into Gaza through current, authorized means.
“We have no intention to use violence and there is no need for this to end violently,” Palmor said. “If they want the aid to get to Gaza, they can send through the regular peaceful channels. I think they understand that seeking confrontation will not do them any good.”
Protests erupted in a number of Muslim countries including Turkey, which unofficially supported the flotilla, Indonesia and Malaysia, where a Palestinian man slashed himself outside the U.S. Embassy.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, an outspoken critic of Israel, told lawmakers Tuesday that the Israeli raid was an attack “on international law, the conscience of humanity and world peace.”
“This bloody massacre by Israel on ships that were taking humanitarian aid to Gaza deserves every kind of curse,” he said, demanding that Israel immediately halt its “inhumane” blockade of Gaza.
(y dese gusto leyendo los comentarios de los intolerantes religiosos en EUA criticando a los fundamentalistas de Medio Oriente)
Al tener yahoo, puedo buzzear y también deliciousear. Al buzzear, me encontré estos populares comentarios:
We call for an immediate, independent investigation into the flotilla assault, full accountability for those responsible, and the lifting of the Gaza blockade.
Join me in signing at this link: