Israel will stop boat from reaching Gaza: minister

JERUSALEM (BestGrowthStock) – Israel will stop another boat carrying aid and activists from penetrating its blockade and reaching the Gaza Strip, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Friday.

Israel, facing an international outcry over its naval operation on Monday in which nine Turkish activists were killed on a ship bound for Gaza, has vowed to prevent the Rachel Corrie from reaching the Gaza coast.

“We will stop the ship, and also any other ship that will try to harm Israeli sovereignty. There is no chance the Rachel Corrie will reach the coast of Gaza,” Lieberman said on Israel’s Channel 1 television.

The Irish-owned vessel is a converted merchant ship bought by pro-Palestinian activists and named after an American woman killed in the Gaza Strip in 2003.

One of the activists on board, Irishman Denis Halliday, a former U.N. assistant secretary-general, told Irish radio they expected to reach the exclusion zone overnight and planned to continue toward Gaza in daylight.

In Dublin, Irish Foreign Minister Micheal Martin said in a statement: “Those on board the Rachel Corrie have indicated that they are ready to accept inspection of their cargo at sea, prior to docking in Gaza.”

Lieberman added that Israeli officials had been in touch with the Irish Foreign Ministry and said: “We clarified … to the Irish and to others, no ship will arrive in Gaza without a security check, without checking the cargo, without knowing for certain (what is on board).”

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(Additional reporting by Andras Gergely in Dublin, Writing by Ori Lewis; Editing by Andrew Dobbie)

Israel will stop boat from reaching Gaza: minister