Gaza flotilla begins to form as first ship heads toward maritime meeting point
French ship already set sail; still unclear when rest of ships will be joining after encountering problems in Greek port, which activists claim was sabotage by Israel.
One ship participating in the flotilla to Gaza has already set sail toward the flotilla's scheduled meeting place in international waters.
The French ship "Dignity" does not intend on anchoring before reaching the meeting point at sea, but it is still unclear how long it will be waiting for the rest of the ships, some of which were said to be sabotaged.
On Monday, the propeller of the Greek-Swedish ship "Juliano" was found broken, and Gaza flotilla organizers said they believed it was deliberate sabotage by Israel. It is still unclear how long it will take to fix the problem to allow the ship to set sail.
Moreover, two Port Authority inspectors appeared at the Greek port of Piraeus on Monday and asked to conduct a surprise inspection of the Canadian ship "Tahrir", after it had already underwent a thorough inspection by the International Naval Surveys Bureau and was said to be ready to sail.
It was found Tuesday that the additional inspection came following a complaint by a private citizen to the Port Authority. The complaint said the Canadian ship was "sea unworthy." A similar complaint was filed against the American ship last week.
According to Greek seamen and lawmakers, it is extremely rare for private citizens to file complaints against private ships.
David Heap, a member of the Gaza flotilla steering committee, said what the flotilla was recently experiencing was a clear example of a bureaucratic delay driven by political motives.
When asked by Haaretz why the flotilla organizers did not respond to Israeli claims that the activists on board the ships are planning to kill Israeli soldiers, Heap said that the organizers are busy preparing for departure which is more important than answering a country "known to be spreading lies about us."
He noted, however, that every flotilla participant had signed a document committing them to non-violent behavior.