Israel vows to stop Jewish Gaza blockade-runners

Israel was adamant on Monday that its Navy would stop a boatload of Jewish activists headed for Gaza, if they insisted on trying to run the blockade of the coastal strip.

Jerusalem: Israel was adamant on Monday
that its Navy would stop a boatload of Jewish activists headed
for Gaza, if they insisted on trying to run the blockade of
the coastal strip.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said so far
there had been no contact with the crew of the "Irene," which
left Cyprus yesterday, and he did not know its current
position.

He said that if the vessel headed for the Egyptian
port of El Arish or Ashdod in Israel, it would be allowed to
proceed unhindered and the goods would be transported to Gaza
overland after inspection.

"The intention is to establish radio contact with
them and ascertain where they intend to go," Palmor told news agencies.

"If they say Gaza, then we shall explain to them
that to (sail) to Gaza is forbidden.

"If they insist on entering the banned zone, 32
kilometres off the Gaza coast, they will be stopped and taken
to Ashdod," he said.

Yonatan Shapira, one of the seven activists on the
small British-flagged sailing boat told agencies by satellite phone
yesterday that they were not looking for a fight.

"We have a policy of non-violence and
non-confrontation," said the former Israeli pilot. "But if the
Israeli army stops the boat, we will not help them to take it
to Ashdod."

In May, Israeli forces intercepted a six-ship
flotilla heading for Gaza but the raid went badly wrong and
nine Turkish activists -- including one with dual Turkish-US
citizenship -- were killed, prompting a wave of international
condemnation.

-PTI

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