Here they go again. ....
Wonder whats gonna happen this time.
June 1 (Bloomberg) -- Pro-Palestinian activists are sending another ship to try and breach Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip, a day after nine people were killed in an Israeli commando raid on boats attempting to enter Gaza.
Russia today joined the European Union in demanding that Israel open its borders into the Gaza Strip. Egypt, which shut its frontier with Gaza after the Islamic Hamas movement seized full control of the area in 2007, said it will allow medical and aid shipments into the enclave.
In Gaza today, Israeli forces killed two Palestinians who tried to infiltrate into Israel and another three who attempted to fire a rocket.
Israel says it needs to control Gaza’s borders or else Hamas will smuggle in material to make rockets and attack its territory. Palestinians, backed by the UN and human rights groups, say the restrictions on food imports and construction materials have created a humanitarian crisis.
“We conduct a dialogue with countries about the sanctions that apply on Gaza and we’re open to suggestions, though obviously the naval blockage must remain in place as long as we know that Iran, Syria and Hezbollah will try to bring in deadly missiles that will be shot at Israel,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s spokesman, Mark Regev, said in an interview today.
Israel is holding 634 people who were taken from the boats, Interior Ministry spokeswoman Sabine Haddad said. Forty-five others signed statements waiving their right to a court hearing and were deported immediately.
The detainees were taken to a prison in the southern city of Beersheba to await deportation hearings, Haddad said. The majority of them are from Turkey while others are from countries including the U.K., U.S., Greece, Sweden, Norway, Morocco, Kuwait and Lebanon.
“This disaster with the Israeli commandos has just made us more determined to reach Gaza,” said Audrey Bomse, a spokeswoman for the Free Gaza Movement, one of the flotilla’s organizers. The MV Rachel Corrie, named after an American pro- Palestinian activist killed in 2003 by an Israeli army bulldozer in Gaza, lagged behind the original flotilla because of mechanical problems and should get to the waters near Gaza by the end of this week, she said.
Israel’s benchmark TA-25 Index fell for a fourth day, declining 0.9 percent at the close in Tel Aviv after a 1.6 percent drop yesterday.
Russia and the European Union called for the “immediate opening of crossings for the flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods and people to and from Gaza,” according to a joint statement. The United Nations Security Council today condemned “acts which resulted” in the deaths while Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the Israeli raid was an act of “despicable recklessness.”
Egypt will open its Rafah border crossing to allow medical and humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip, state-run Nile News television reported today.
Egyptian authorities said the border will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. until further notice, Hamas Interior Ministry spokesman Ihab al-Ghussein said in an e-mailed statement.
Though Egypt supports Palestinian independence, it opposes Hamas, which wants to create an Islamic state. Egypt has periodically opened its crossing for humanitarian supplies.
Israeli aircraft attacked the northern Gaza Strip today, an army official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The Popular Resistance Committees, a militant group, said three of its members were hit by an Israeli air-to-ground missile as they were trying to launch a rocket, a spokesman for the group who goes by the name Abu Mujahed said in a telephone interview.
Knives and Clubs
The army said that the two Palestinians killed trying to infiltrate Israel from Gaza were armed.
Blockading Gaza “is turning into a human rights and public relations disaster” for Israel, said Martin Indyk, director of foreign policy at the Brookings Institution in Washington and a former U.S. ambassador to Israel. “Israel needs to find a better way.”
Israel said its soldiers were attacked with knives and clubs after boarding a vessel and seven soldiers were wounded, including by gunfire after activists aboard the ship managed to grab Israeli firearms. The clash was in international waters.
The six ships in the “Freedom Flotilla” came from Sweden, Greece and Turkey on a mission aimed at breaking Israel’s blockade that organizers pledged would be nonviolent. Israel had warned it wouldn’t let the ships reach Gaza and called the aid delivery a propaganda trick.
Norman Paech, a 72-year-old former German lawmaker who returned to Berlin today, said he heard shooting while he was below deck on one of the ships.
‘They’ll Stop Us’
“We didn’t at all prepare for such an attack,” Paech told reporters in Berlin. “We said ‘they’ll stop us; they’ll control us.’”
He said three lightly injured Israeli soldiers were brought below deck to a converted medical hold, where activists in the “double digits” with heavier injuries were treated. He said he saw three activists carrying sticks.
“I tried to hold them back, but they went on deck with them,” Paech said. “There really wasn’t anything more than that. We never saw any knives.”
Israeli newspaper columnists criticized the way the raid was carried out, with Ben Caspit writing in Ma’ariv that “the flotilla operation, conducted at dawn off the Gaza shore, was complete idiocy.”
Several of the dead were from Turkey, which said relations with Israel may suffer irreparable harm.
Netanyahu cut short a trip to Canada to return to Israel, canceling a meeting scheduled in Washington with President Barack Obama.
Obama expressed “deep regret at the loss of life” and said it was important to learn “all the facts and circumstances around this morning’s tragic events as soon as possible,” according to a statement yesterday from the White House.
Israel has restricted entry of people and goods into Gaza since 2007 allowing in a limited range of supplies including food, clothing and medicine. Hamas is considered a terrorist organization by Israel, the U.S. and the European Union.
Israel fought a three-week war in Gaza starting in December 2008 that it said was meant to stop Hamas and other militant groups from firing rockets into its territory. Some 330 rockets have been fired from Gaza into Israel since the end of the operation, killing one foreign worker last March, the army said.
Israeli bombing and ground operations during the war destroyed thousands of houses across Gaza, and Israel’s restrictions on construction materials have prevented Palestinians from being able to rebuild. The army says Hamas has used materials such as cement and iron pipes to build rockets and bunkers.