“Famous athletes on next flotilla” 22Jul10 July 26, 2010

Organizers of ‘Freedom Flotilla 2′ reportedly in talks with leading athletes to take part in sail against Gaza blockade. Potential participants include Spanish national soccer team captain Iker Casillas, tennis star Rafael Nadal

by Roee Nahmias  -  Ynet News  -  22 July 2010

The European campaign to End the Siege on Gaza, which organized the aid flotilla that turned into a lethal incident with international repercussions, is trying to create hype around “Freedom Flotilla 2″, scheduled to set sail in September.

According to a report in the London-based al-Hayat newspaper on Thursday the organization is in talks with a number of world famous soccer players in hopes of having them take part in the sail.

According to Thursday’s report, the organization said it is in contact with French and Spanish soccer players, including captain of the 2010 FIFA World Cup winner Spanish goalie Iker Casillas.

While his name was mentioned, the statement said talks were being kept quiet for fear that the players or their clubs may come under Israeli pressure. It was unclear which players would agree to leave their teams in September, after the soccer season begins.

While Casillas led his teammates to the welcoming ceremony in the Spanish capital, the paper cites websites that reported the captain said he would not take part in the celebrations in Madrid’s central square as an expression of his “deep sorrow over what happened in Gaza”. According to the reports, Casillas said, “It’s unthinkable that people take part (in the celebrations) and laugh after seeing what is going on in the Gaza Strip.”

He allegedly emphasized that the Spanish celebrations surrounding the World Cup victory are “partial, as long as the Gaza Strip remains besieged.”

Al-Hayat also named the world’s number 1 tennis player, Spain’s Rafael Nadal, as a potential flotilla passenger, saying he also condemned “Israel’s aggression against the Gaza Strip” during Operation Cast Lead.

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