Israeli Naval Force Blocks Humanitarian Aid from Entering Gaza

June 30, 2009

The Israeli navy intercepted, boarded, and took control of a Greek cargo ship carrying foreign peace activists, including former US congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and Nobel prize winner Mairead Maguire. Their ship was carrying humanitarian aid cargo for the residents of Gaza.

The Israeli military instilled a blockade June 2007 in Gaza; a response to the rise in power of Hamas. Since then, the sanctions have made it incredibly difficult to get the bare essentials to the population, such as food, fuel, and medicine.

This is not the first time Israel has blocked humanitarian aid—similar ships have been turned back after attempting to deliver basic goods like food and medicine.

This is an outrageous violation of international law against us. Our boat was not in Israeli waters, and we were on a human rights mission to the Gaza Strip,” said Cynthia McKinney in a statement shortly after she and the other activists were turned over to immigration authorities in Ashdod.

Samah Choudhury contributed to this post