Israel names flotilla assault ‘Operation Sky Winds’ 29May10 May 30, 2010

IMEMC -  29 May 2010

Make-shift prison in Ashdod

Washington - The Israeli military has named its operation to overtake the soon-to-arrive Gaza aid convoy “Operation Sky Winds”.

The Israeli navy has made it clear they intend to stop the convoy from reaching Gaza’s shores, by force if necessary, and the army has erected a detention center in Ashdod for the “Freedom Flotilla” activists. The “Operation Sky Winds” offensive will be executed in four stages, IMEMC said:

1. Warning stage; the navy will try to stop the ships from reaching a “line” dubbed as a red line, should the ships reach the designated line. They will be warned and informed that they “violate the law”.

2. Boarding and controlling the ships; should the ships fail to adhere to the demands of the navy, the navy will attack and control the eight ships carrying nearly 800 activists. The ships will then be taken to Ashdod Port and the activists will be detained in a huge tent installed for this purpose.

3. Deportation by air; Israeli soldiers and policemen would order the detained activists to sign statements accepting to be deported to their countries, and will be deported by air via the Ben Gurion Airport.

4. Arrest before deportation; those who refuse to sign deportation statements, will be arrested, sent to medical examination, then transferred to the Nahshon Brigade which belongs to the Israeli Prison Administration before being sent to Be’er Sheva Prison and likely other prisons.

The convoy is scheduled to arrive Sunday and carries roughly 600 activists. Israel’s Foreign Ministry has said the state “will use all the means at its disposal” to stop the nine-ship convoy from reaching the besieged coastal territory.

“The Government of Israel has instructed the Israel Defense Force and the Israeli Navy to act accordingly,” a recent statement said. “In such an event, the responsibility for the consequences will fall squarely upon the organizers of this publicity stunt and its participants, as well as upon the owners of the vessels and the states from which the vessels set sail or whose flags they fly.”

The organizers of the “Freedom Flotilla” have repeatedly said they would continue to sail to Gaza, in spite of Israel’s threats to stop the convoy.

Israel placed the Gaza Strip under a blockade in June 2007, after Hamas took full control in the area. The border closure, which Palestinians call a “siege,” has caused shortages of food, fuel, medicine, and construction materials.

However, Israel’s government insisted on Thursday, “There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza.”


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