'Freedom Flotilla' Aid Convoy Sets Off for Gaza

In response to the nine-ship international aid convoy to Gaza, an Israeli flotilla also left Herzliya displaying banners of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.

Haaretz Service
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Haaretz Service

The Israeli flotilla that set off from shore of Herziliya in response to the pro-Palestinian 'Freedom Flotilla' on May 22, 2010.Credit: David Bachar

Three ships carrying pro-Palestinian activists have set off from Turkey to Gaza on Saturday, as part of the nine-ship 'Freedom Flotilla' convoy, a large attempt by international aid groups to breach the Israeli blockade of Gaza .

Meanwhile, an Israeli flotilla has set off from shores of Herzliya as a response to the pro-Palestinian convoy. The banners the Israeli ships carried noted Gaza rocket fire toward Israel and displayed photos of captured IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.

Pro-Palestinian activists gather at the Sarayburnu port in Istanbul to send off the Mavi Marmara cruise ship as it departs for Gaza, on May 22, 2010.
Israeli protestors join some 16 other yachts in a protest off Tel Aviv coast against a Turkish ship sailing for Gaza, on May 22, 2010.
An Israeli protester gets ready to sail, with some 16 other yachts, as part of a demonstration off Tel Aviv coast against a Turkish ship heading to Gaza, on May 22, 2010.
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Pro-Palestinian activists gather at the Sarayburnu port in Istanbul to send off the Mavi Marmara cruise ship as it departs for Gaza, on May 22, 2010.Credit: Reuters
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Israeli protestors join some 16 other yachts in a protest off Tel Aviv coast against a Turkish ship sailing for Gaza, on May 22, 2010.Credit: Reuters
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An Israeli protester gets ready to sail, with some 16 other yachts, as part of a demonstration off Tel Aviv coast against a Turkish ship heading to Gaza, on May 22, 2010. Credit: Reuters
Gaza flotilla

The three ships that set off from Turkey are due to reach Greece , where they will join the other six before heading to Gaza , despite warnings from Israel and instructions from Defense Minister Ehud Barak to the Israeli Navy to intercept the convoy at the Gaza shore.

The organization of Gush Shalom has called on the Israeli government to allow the aid convoy to reach Gaza .

"The State of Israel has no interest in footage of its navy violently assaulting against peace activists at sea flooding television screens all over the world. It is time to remove the suffocating siege and allow residents of Gaza to have free contact with the outside world, freely operate sea and air ports of their own like any country in the world," read a statement by Gush Shalom.

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