Irish ‘activist’ boat set to reach Gaza this weekend.
The Rachel Corrie activist cargo ship kept its course for a Saturday arrival in Gaza — or confrontation — as world anger simmered over Israel’s deadly raid on an earlier blockade-busting bid.
“We are not afraid,” Irish Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Maguire told Ireland’s RTE state radio by satellite phone from aboard the aid-laden ship on Friday. “We started out to deliver this cargo to the people of Gaza and to break the siege of Gaza, that is what we want to do,” the 66-year-old said as the vessel steamed towards the Hamas-run Palestinian enclave.
The MV Rachel Corrie was just hours from Gaza but the 15 aboard — Irish and Malaysian activists, four Indonesian crew and a Scottish captain — did not intend to leave international waters and run the Israeli gauntlet until after daybreak Saturday, organisers said.
Late on Friday, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman reiterated that the ship would not be allowed to sail freely into Gaza. “I have just told the Irish foreign ministry director general that the ship will not be able to travel to Gaza without first being inspected,” he said on public television.
Israel has warned it will stop the blockade-busting bid by Rachel Corrie — a 1,200-tonne cargo ship named after a US activist killed in 2003 as she tried to prevent an Israeli bulldozer from razing a Palestinian home. On Friday, it reiterated its offer, already rejected by the organisers, to deliver the goods to Gaza overland if the ship unloads in the Israeli port of Ashdod. FRANCE24