Thu, July 01, 2010 | Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center
The Flotilla to the Gaza Strip
Other Flotillas – Update
More flotillas to the Gaza Strip were being organized accompanied by intensive propaganda, although it is not clear which will actually sail:
The Flotilla from Lebanon
The status of the Lebanese flotilla is currently unclear and the reports contradict one another. According to a report, the ships Nagi al-Ali and Maryam postponed their sailing date to one more suited to the planned Freedom Flotilla 2 (Al-Hayat, June 27 and 28, 2010). According to another, the two ships will set sail together for Cyprus where they will undergo a security check and continue to the Gaza Strip (Al-Diyar, June 25, 2010).
Freedom Flotilla 2
The flotilla is being organized by an organization calling itself the “International Committee to Lift the Siege of the Gaza Strip.” Its chairman is the former Lebanese prime minister Salim el-Hoss. Maan Bashur, the economic coordinator of the Lebanese association of popular committees and unions, claimed that the flotilla would set sail in the middle of July and be composed of between 15 and 20 ships, and that it was a fleet of ships from Arab and Islamic countries, Latin American countries and Australia. He also claimed that he had already visited a number of Arab countries, among them Egypt, Jordan and Sudan, to organization the flotilla (Al-Sharq al-Awsat, June 24, 2010).
Nasereddine Chaklal, head of the Guidance and Reform Society in Algeria, claimed that an organization called the Society of Religious Sunni Sages headed by an Egyptian cleric named Safouat Hijazi was preparing to dispatch a ship of clerics from various countries as part of Freedom Flotilla 2 (Al-Akhbar, June 22, 2010). An unknown Lebanese network calling itself “The Permanent Organization for Rescuing Al-Aqsa Mosque and Palestine” said in an announcement that it was dispatching a ship called the Muhammad al-Doura from Greece to the Gaza Strip as part of Freedom Flotilla 2, and that the ship would carry 15 Lebanese clerics (Palestinian Information Center website, June 25, 2010)
A Flotilla from Iran
Announcements from Tehran regarding the Iranian flotilla are contradictory. Mohammad Reza Shibani, deputy foreign minister for Arab affairs denied reports that Iran had changed its mind about dispatching ships and noted that sending aid from Iranian civilian and non-government organizations was “still being planned.” He said the plan would be carried out as part of the international flotilla being organized to the Gaza Strip. He also claimed that the plan to send aid to the Gaza Strip by air was still in force (Iranian radio, June 26, 2010).
In addition, Mahmoud Ahmedi Bighash, a member of the Majlis (the Iranian Parliament) and responsible for organizing a delegation of Iranian Majlis members to the Gaza Strip, said in an announcement that the delegation was expected to reach the Gaza Strip on one of the ships being organized to set sail from Lebanon (ISNA news agency, June 26, 2010). However, the organizers of the Lebanese ship Nagi al-Ali said that no parliamentarians, neither Iranian nor any other, were expected to be on board (Al-Nishra, June 27, 2010).
George Galloway, pro-Palestinian former British Member of Parliament, said in an announcement that his organization, Viva Palestina, would organize a “naval convoy” called Lifeline 4. It was expected to leave London in September 2010 and join other convoys from the Persian Gulf and North Africa and to turn into “the largest convoy in modern history” (Hamas’ Palestine-info website, June 28, 2010).
Wael al-Saka, chairman of the Lifeline Committee in Jordan, said that on July 12 Lifeline 3 was expected to set out, a convoy of 500 Jordanians (and possibly other nationalities) from Al-Ramatha (in northwest Jordan) (Sama News Agency, June 26, 2010).