Organisers deny that flotilla is ‘provocation’, as Clinton claimed 25Jun11 June 26, 2011

The Palestinian Information Centre -  25 June 2011

BRUSSELS, (PIC)– The European campaign to end the siege on Gaza (ECESG) has denounced the U.S.’s position on the Freedom Flotilla II condemning the humanitarian mission as a provocation.

The flotilla, set to sail to Gaza sometime next week, will include 15 ships carrying hundreds of foreign supporters from forty countries worldwide. Among them are European Parliament members, legal and rights experts, and media reporters.

“We think that it’s not helpful for there to be flotillas that try to provoke action by entering into Israeli waters and creating a situation in which the Israelis have the right to defend themselves”, said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a news conference.

Israeli naval forces intercepted a similar flotilla, operating under the same title, in May 2010, killing nine activists on board, including an American.

In a statement, the ECESG, one of the largest members of the Freedom Flotilla II coalition, said that the “greater provocation in this case is to call the humanitarian work supervised by world human rights movements a provocation”.

The ECESG reiterated that the flotilla is determined to sail to the Gaza Strip, and said that the “cause is just and humanitarian,” and their ways to achieve this objective are transparent. It said that there is “no reason to intercept” the mission.

Meanwhile, dozens of well-known Swiss politicians confirmed their support for the ships in a joint statement.

A Swiss cargo ship is slated to join the flotilla next week. It is said to carry more than 1,500 tons of medical supplies and aid.

The Swiss politicians said that they have long condemned the Israeli siege of the Gaza Strip as “unjust and inhumane”.

Israel has issued warnings to countries from where the ships are scheduled to sail. It said, according to a message by Israel’s UN ambassador Ron Prosor, that Israel “will not allow the ship to arrive in Gaza”, and that it will impose a strict naval cordon, regarding the cordon completely legitimate.

Earlier, the Freedom Flotilla II coalition issued a statement inviting the UN to conduct a security search on the ships ahead of their departure. The calls were aimed at assuring that the flotilla was a humanitarian mission did not pose any danger to Israel as it had claimed to justify attacking it.

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