Israel begins deporting Gaza boat activists

JERUSALEM Sat Nov 5, 2011 7:30am EDT

An image released by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) shows Israeli soldiers boarding one of the two Gaza-bound boats carrying pro-Palestinian activists in the Mediterranean Sea November 4, 2011. REUTERS/Handout/IDF

An image released by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) shows Israeli soldiers boarding one of the two Gaza-bound boats carrying pro-Palestinian activists in the Mediterranean Sea November 4, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Handout/IDF

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JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli authorities on Saturday began deporting pro-Palestinian activists who tried to breach the Jewish state's naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli navy on Friday intercepted a Canadian vessel and an Irish boat carrying 27 activists and medical supplies which had set sail from Turkey toward the Gaza Strip.

An Israeli Immigration Authority spokeswoman said two Greek citizens were flown home on Saturday and two journalists, one American and one Spanish, were to board flights on Sunday.

One Israeli citizen was released, as was an Egyptian woman who had crossed back to neighboring Egypt overnight, the spokeswoman said. Twenty one other activists were being held in custody in Israel and were awaiting deportation.

In May 2010, Israeli commandos boarded a Turkish aid vessel to enforce the naval blockade of the Palestinian enclave, and killed nine Turks in clashes with activists, some of them armed with clubs and knives.

There were no injuries in the interception of the two boats on Friday.

Israel has blockaded Gaza since the Islamist group Hamas seized control of the territory in 2007, citing the need to prevent weapons smuggling.

A U.N. report on Israel's interception of the Turkish aid ship said the blockade was a "legitimate security measure," but added that Israel had used unreasonable force in its raid on the ship. Turkey expelled Israel's envoy and froze military cooperation with Israel over the Jewish state's refusal to apologize for the killings.

Pro-Palestinian groups behind the latest attempt to reach Gaza by sea condemn the blockade as illegal and inhumane. A spokeswoman for the Irish Ship to Gaza group said on Friday they would continue to send boats until the blockade is lifted.

(Writing by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Rosalind Russell)

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Comments (2)
nomadic7 wrote:
Reuters article seems factual, except for the reference to Hamas ~seizing~ power in 2007. The author of this article could just check back within Reuters’ archives to see that Hamas was ~elected~ to power in Gaza in 2007. Really should write a correction ~ you would not want to be a journalist saying Obama ~seized~ power in 2010, so for factual journalism a correction is in order.

Nov 05, 2011 8:57am EDT  --  Report as abuse
BBJJ wrote:
Hmmm. Seize is defined as to take possession of or custody …
Being elected was part of the legal process of seizing power.

Not only did Hamas take posession of political power in 2007, BO did likewise in 2010 in their respective jurisdictions.

Nov 05, 2011 1:26pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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