Gaza-bound Flotilla Claims Ship Was Sabotaged

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Dror Feiler (second left) speaking at a previous attempt to break the blockade in 2014.Credit: AFP

One of the ships taking part in the latest flotilla aiming to break the maritime blockade of Gaza has been sabotaged, according to Israel-born Swedish activist Dror Feiler.

Feiler said Thursday morning that “unknown forces” sabotaged one of the ships, telling Nazareth’s Radio Ashams that “unknown persons did a job that only professionals could do.”

The activist, who is taking part in his fourth Gaza flotilla, said that if the ship had set sail in its present condition, it would have started sinking in the middle of the sea and any activists onboard would have gone down with it. “Somebody went underneath the ship at night and sabotaged its propellers, just like they sabotaged the same ship in 2011,” said Feiler, adding, “There are ‘dark forces’ that are trying to stop us in all kinds of ways. This was someone who knew what he was doing.”

The problem came to light when the crew “started sailing and water started coming in,” said Feiler, who renounced his Israeli citizenship in the 1970s when he became Swedish.

Feiler, 64, is with another 18 activists onboard the Swedish ship Marianne, which set sail from Sweden about six weeks ago and is currently south of Crete. It is expected to arrive at the Gaza coast in three days. Over the course of its journey, the ship did not anchor at any European ports, for fear the authorities would prevent it from setting sail again. MK Basel Ghattas (Joint Arab List) is expected to join the ship today for the last few days of its trip.

Feiler said fishing boats are taking part in the flotilla, which marks five years since the Mavi Marmara affair. In May 2010, nine activists were killed after Israel Defense Forces troops boarded the ship and a skirmish ensued.

The plan is to leave the fishing boats in Gaza afterward so they can be used by local fishermen. Despite the sabotage, Feiler said the flotilla is continuing undeterred. “We’ve developed a new tactic. We’ll come in waves, and not all at once. The most important thing is we get going and not be delayed too long.”

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