Israeli Military Boards Ships Headed To Gaza
The ships were boarded by Israeli Defense Forces after refusing to heed requests to stop or turn around according to the Jerusalem Post. The activists are expected to be turned over to police and immigration authorities.
Israel has operated a naval blockade in the waters near Gaza since January 2009, claiming the blockade was necessary to prevent weapons from being smuggled into Gaza and into the hands of Palestinian militants.
In May 2010 Israeli forces raided a flotilla headed for Gaza, killing nine people. The move brought international ire. Israeli officials, say the blockade is supported by international law, citing September’s Palmer report which states the blockade was legal. While the report concluded the legality of the maritime blockade, it also found fault with the raid on the flotilla.
Israel eased the land blockade amid intense international pressure following the May 2010 flotilla raid.
Tensions are rising again in the region after dozens of rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel last week. Earlier this week Palestine was accepted into UNESCO. The U.S. has since cut off funding to the United Nations-based organization and Israel has suspended approximately $100 million in tax payments to the Palestinian Authority as a result. The U.N. Security Council is expected to vote on granting full U.N. membership to Palestine later this month. French and British officials said on Thursday that they would abstain from the vote.
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