Hamas says Israel will not end siege, flotilla should sail 23Jun11 June 24, 2011

Ma’an News Agency -  23 June 2011

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Hamas urged organizers of the Freedom Flotilla II to push ahead with plans to sail to Gaza and break Israel’s siege “despite threats,” a statement from the party’s spokesman said Thursday.

The party gave its endorsement to the convoy of 10 international ships, saying it considered them as acting within the law in their attempt to break a siege that international rights groups and UN missions have called illegal.

Speaking for the party, spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the flotilla – which plans to sail during the last week of June with a cargo of aid and activists – was essential, since Israel had demonstrated that “it never keeps its promises regarding the lifting or easing of the blockade” on Gaza.

Following an international outcry over the slaying of nine activists by Israeli commandos who commandeered the ships from the first Freedom Flotilla in international waters at the end of May 2010, pressure from Quartet envoy Tony Blair and other actors prompted Israel to announce measures for the partial lifting of the ban on the passage of people and goods in and out of Gaza.

The announced measures have yet to be fully implemented.

Organizers have said that the ships plan to sail, and activists are arriving in Greece and France, from where the flotilla is scheduled to set sail.

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