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Palestine: Two Boats Sabotaged as Flotilla Floats Onwards

The Freedom Flotilla 2 to Gaza will be missing an Irish ship, it emerged today.

The MV Saoirse has been reportedly sabotaged while at berth in the Turkish coastal town of Göcek and will now not be able to take part in the flotilla, says the Irish Ship to Gaza Campaign.

A total of 300 activists from around the world are taking part in the six-vessel flotilla to Gaza, which is aimed at breaking Israel's siege on Gaza and to deliver humanitarian aid to its population. It follows in the heels of last year's Gaza Freedom Flotilla, which ended tragically when Israeli forces boarded the flotilla after it had declined to change its course to the port of Ashdod, where Israel had promised to inspect the aid and deliver non-banned items to Gaza.

Sabotage of the MV Saoirse. Image by irishshiptogaza.org.

Sabotage of the MV Saoirse. Image by irishshiptogaza.org.

Nine passengers of the Comoros-flagged MV Mavi Marmara, which was part of the six-ship flotilla, were reported killed by Israeli soldiers who landed on the ship and 10 Israeli soldiers were injured.

This year's attempt, which includes nationals from Canada, the US, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Norway and the UK, among others, is a highly politicized campaign and activists are using social media creatively to encourage press coverage and global support. The US Boat to Gaza website is inviting journalists to come look at the entire boat in a press release on their homepage.

smac shares footage and photographs of the damage the Irish vessel had encountered here. He writes:

On Monday the ships 3 crew members, Shane Dillon, John Hearne and Pat Fitzgerald; along with Clr Gerry MacLochlainn, Charlie McMenamin (both from Derry) with John Mallon and Phil McCullough (both from Belfast) set sail on the MV Saoirse for re-fueling and a test run.

On the way back to port Pat Fitzgerald, ship’s engineer, noticed that something was very wrong with the boat. Upon returning to the dock the first inspections began, it was then we realised that sabotage had been done to Ireland’s boat.

The campaign reports “deep cuts inflicted onto the propeller shaft,” which was “also seriously and dangerously bent.”

This same type of sabotage was done to another vessel in Greece only days ago. This was a vicious attack on Irish property by international terrorists against a boat flying the Irish flag. The ship is so damaged it will now be unable to take part in the Flotilla. However arrangements are being made to find seats on other ships for as many Irish passengers as possible.

Fintan Lane is seen here speaking about the damage the ship suffered:

Irish Times foreign affairs correspondent Mary Fitzgerald reports:

@MaryFitzgerldIT: Irish ship due to sail in Gaza flotilla has problems with propeller. Organisers believe it may have been sabotaged. http://bit.ly/leKYKE

She continues:

@MaryFitzgerldIT: Irish taking part in Gaza flotilla accuse Israel of sabotaging their ship and call on Irish govt to raise issue with Israeli counterparts

And adds:

@MaryFitzgerldIT: Irish FM is ‘concerned’ re reports Irish ship in Gaza flotilla sabotaged. Says will take ‘very serious view’ if sab proved in investigation

A Facebook page, calling for a sit-in in Dublin to protest against the damage the ship has suffered, has been set up.

The page says:

The Irish Ship To Gaza have called an EMERGENCY DEMONSTRATION for today in response to this outrageous act. We are calling on people to assemble at 6pm at the Spire in O'Connell Street. From there we will march to the Israeli Embassy and stage an overnight sit-in outside (so bring sleeping bags etc). We intend to shut down the Israeli Embassy!

We need this demo to be as loud as possible, so if you have drums, bodrans, whistles, whatever, please bring them along.

This act of sabotage against a peaceful humanitarian civil society mission (which has been paid for by 1000s of ordinary Irish people) must be protested in the strongest terms possible.

Like many, Egyptian Twitter user Khaled Khalil accuses Israel of bullying when he read about the sabotaging of the Irish ship:

@Kh-Khalil: #Israel bullying RT @notmytribe: Irish MV Saoirse becomes 2nd victim of sabotage, cannot sail with Gaza Flotilla http://bit.ly/jrP7dh

Israel accuses the flotilla campaign, which attempts to breach its maritime blockade of Gaza, as a “clear political provocation.”

On Twitter, Tony Karon, from New York, quips:

@TonyKaron: Sure, Gaza flotilla is a provocation – mass non-violent civil disobedience of an unjust order. Dr King led plenty such provocations #fb

Tweets from the Irish Ship to Gaza can be found here.

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