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  • » 02/06/2009, 00.00

    ISRAEL - PALESTINE

    Israel expels activists from “Brotherhood Ship” carrying aid to Gaza

    Joshua Lapide

    The Israeli Navy blocked the ship yesterday concerned it was carrying weapons for Palestinians. Instead it was carrying humanitarian aid. Among the expelled Msgr. Hilarion Capucci, current bishop of Cesarea.

    Jerusalem (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A group of pro-Palestinian activists, stopped by the Israeli navy onboard a humanitarian aid ship bound for Gaza, reached Lebanon this morning.

    The 10 activists, nine Lebanese and a Palestinian resident in Lebanon, helped by UN peacekeepers, crossed the Lebanese-Israeli border reaching the city of Naqoura.

    Among them 86 year-old Greek-Catholic bishop Hilarion Capucci, who has been brought to Syria.

    The 10 had embarked onboard a Togolese ship to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza, in an attempt to force or evade the Israeli naval blockade.  The ship originally named Tali, but re-baptised “Brotherhood Ship”, was stopped and then escorted to the port of Ashdod for inspection. The Israeli army suspected the boat of carrying arms for Hamas, but all they found were hundreds of bottles of water, food and medicine.

    The 10 activists and crew – 18 people in all – were expelled and sent to Lebanon and other destinations.

    According to organisers among them Salam Khoder, Al Jazeera correspondent and Hani Suleiman, the Israel Navy stopped the boat while it was still in Egyptian waters and fired shots before boarding.  They say that passengers and crew were also beaten.

    Msgr. Hilarion Capucci, the Greek-Catholic Archbishop of Caesarea, was arrested in Lebanon in 1974 after being caught with weapons in his car of which the prelate said he had no knowledge.  He was sentenced to 12 years in prison, but was released after three years upon a papal request to the Israeli government.

    Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora condemned the action:” Those who commit massacres against innocent civilians in Lebanon and Gaza will not stop themselves from assaulting, in front of the world, a ship carrying humanitarian supplies”.

    There have been several attempts to break the blockade over the past months by sympathizers of Gaza's 1.5 million Palestinians, who are suffering a lack of food, medicine and fuel.

     

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    See also

    05/06/2010 ISRAEL
    Israeli navy ready to board the freighter with aid for Gaza
    Tel Aviv has ordered it to dock at the port of Ashdod, but the Irish ship is determined to break the blockade. 94% of Israelis agree with the raid on the flotilla, but 62% say it should have been done "differently". Israeli army sources "if they fail to follow the order to dock, we will have to not board”.

    15/07/2010 ISRAEL - PALESTINE
    Israel forces Gaddafi's aid ship to Gaza to dock in Egypt
    The ship docked yesterday evening in the port of El-Ashida. The humanitarian aid will be taken today to Gaza by the Egyptian Red Crescent. The news of an engine failure of the Libyan vessel is false: it was a ploy by the captain to gain time after the Israeli navy had surrounded his ship.

    19/06/2010 LEBANON-ISRAEL
    Christian and Muslim women announce they will go to Gaza on board the ship "Mariam", Mary
    "We are determined to go - says Rima Farah, spokeswoman for the group - and our weapons are our faith in the Virgin and humanity." Their announcement met with concern in Israel: Barak warns that the Lebanese government will be considered "responsible."

    03/08/2006 PALESTINE – ISRAEL – LEBANON
    Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem: Pray and fast for peace

    Mgr Michael Sabbah has launched an appeal against violence in Gaza and South Lebanon. And he has called on Israel to restore "freedom and independence" to the Palestinians as a condition for peace.



    13/01/2009 LEBANON – ISRAEL – PALESTINE
    War in Gaza: a lot of bloodshed for limited results
    The conflict between Israel and Hamas appears to be at a stalemate. For Kadima there are a few successes and more support in Israel in view of the elections. For Hamas surviving is itself a “victory.” The civilian population however is the one paying the price.



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