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German-Jewish organisation to send flotilla to Gaza

A German-Jewish organisation is planning a `Jewish flotilla` to Gaza.

Jerusalem: A German-Jewish organisation is planning a `Jewish flotilla` to Gaza to cheer up impoverished kids there with candies and music in a bid to change the image of the community among Palestinians.

Accusing Israel of having acted "criminally" during its lethal raid on the Gaza flotilla last Monday that left nine people dead and dozen others wounded, the German organisation, Jewish Voice for Peace in the Middle East, has said that there is a great interest in joining the mission.

"Because of limited space, there will be school equipment, candy, and mainly musical equipment, and there`ll be musicians aboard who`ll teach the children of Gaza. They need to see that Jews are not what how they are drawn in their eyes," she told the portal. a member of the organisation, Kate Leitrer, told news portal Ynet.

"We intend to leave around July," she said adding, "We have one small craft so far, in which there will be between 12 and 16 people, mostly Jews."

Leitrer, herself Jewish, said that in view of the interest generated in joining the mission, her organisation is thinking of getting another boat.

The head of UNRRA (United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration) appealed to the world to send ships due to the shortage of important supplies in Gaza," Leitrer said, arguing that "by stopping the flotilla, Israel acted criminally. Israel must not act like pirates."

The activists planning to join the Jewish flotilla are frightened, she said, but not by Islamist Hamas ruling over Gaza since there violent takeover over the coastal territory in June 2007, she said.

"Jews have been to Gaza in the past, and they were treated in a friendly manner. We have also talked with them recently, and they are very keen for us to come. We are frightened by what happened on the Marmara, but if you are committed to do good things, you have to act. People were also killed in the fight against fascism," the activist stressed.

She also rejected Israel`s fears that weapons would be smuggled into Gaza on the aid boats.

"We haven`t heard there were weapons on the last flotilla, and people were shot and killed there. We have contacted Israeli figures and told them that they are welcome to carry out searches on the boats, but we ask to be allowed to continue to Gaza.”

“These are Gazan waters, and Israel must not control them," Leitrer emphasised.


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