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Entries in Audacity of Hope (2)

Friday
Jul012011

American Flotilla Ship Halted by Greek Coast Guard

Comstock/Thinkstock(ATHENS, Greece) -- A flotilla ship, carrying 36 American passengers along with crewmembers and journalists, was stopped Friday trying to illegally leave a Greek port to sail to the Gaza strip. The ship, called "The Audacity of Hope," was blocked by the Greek coast guard because authorities are still officially looking into its seaworthiness following a complaint by an Israeli group.

The ship is one of 10 trying to form a flotilla to break the Israeli Naval blockade of palestinian Gaza which is controlled by Hamas. Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on Thursday thanked Greece for acting against what he called the "provocation flotilla."

But flotilla organizers say two of the 10 ship were "sabotaged," and accused Israel of  "acts of terrorism."  They say that an Irish ship would have sunk out at sea if they had not caught damage to the propeller so quickly.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun272011

Israel Gearing Up to Face Another Gaza-Bound Flotilla?

RONEN ZVULUN/AFP/Getty Images(JERUSALEM) -- An estimated 500 activists on 10 ships will try to break Israel's naval blockade of Gaza.  Organizers say they want to protest against the collective punishment of 1.5 million Gazans.  Three dozen Americans were planning to take part in the flotilla on a ship called the Audacity of Hope, but now it's unclear if they will leave the port in Greece.

Greek authorities have put a hold on the ship due to safety questions.  A spokesman for the group is accusing the Greeks of giving in to U.S. and Israeli pressure to stop the sail.

The Obama administration has made no secret of its opposition to the flotilla. The State Department urged the American activists not to participate in the sail, which it said would only increase tensions in the region. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the flotilla was not a necessary or effective way to bring aid to the people of Gaza.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said once again at his cabinet meeting this week that the Israeli Navy will stop all ships that try to break the blockade of Gaza.  Ships will be instructed to go to Israel's Ashdod port where their cargo can be inspected to ensure no weapons reach Hamas militants in Gaza.  

Last year the Navy's takeover of the Mavi Marmara left nine Turkish activists dead, but this year Israeli security officials say they don't expect any violent clashes. According to Israeli intelligence reports, no terrorists or terrorist groups will be on board the flotilla, and the Mavi Marmara this year has dropped out of the sail for technical reasons.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio