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General News    H3'ed 8/23/12

Blockade Busters -- Activists and Ships Attempting to Break the Israeli Blockade of Gaza

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After two years of continuous demands to the Israeli government and pressure on the Greek government for assistance, in mid-June, 2012, Greek activists succeeded in getting released from Israel two ships that had sailed in the 2010 Gaza Freedom Flotilla.

The passenger ship "Sfendoni" and the cargo ship "Eleftheri Mesogeios," or "Sofia" had to be towed out of the Haifa, Israel harbor due to damage caused by Israeli commandos and intelligence agents when they attacked the ships on May 31, 2010. The "Sofia" was towed to Turkey and the "Sfendoni" was towed to the Greek port of Piraeus arriving on June 20, 2012. See here.

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Israeli commandos attacked all six ships in the flotilla and murdered nine persons on the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara and wounded 50 more passengers. Activists on each of the six ships were beaten up, tased, put in Israeli prison and eventually deported from Israel.

Mavi Marmara Quickly Returned to Turkey

Due to intense pressure, Mavi Marmara, on which the nine passengers were murdered, was returned to Turkey by the Israeli government on December 27, 2010. The ship had been repainted to cover the blood stains of the dead and wounded activists. The extensive damage to the Mavi Marmara has been repaired and the ship is in the Istanbul harbor.

Two cargo ships in the 2010 flotilla," Gazze" and "Defne Y," were returned from Israel to Turkey also in December, 2010.  They both suffered extensive damage done by Israeli agents.


In the 2010 flotilla, the Turkish Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (IHH) sponsored the "Mavi Marmara" with 581 passengers, and two cargo ships, the "Gazze" with five passengers and the "Defne Y" with 27 passengers. The European Campaign to End the Siege sponsored the passenger boat "Sfendoni" with 45 passengers. The Greek Boat to Gaza campaign sponsored the "Eleftheri Mesogeios" or "Sofia" cargo ship with 10 passengers. The Free Gaza Movement sponsored "Challenger 1" and "Challenger 2" boats. The "Challenger 1" had 17 passengers. The "Challenger 2" developed mechanical troubles attributed to sabotage by Israeli commandos and did not depart from Cyprus. "Challenger 2" passengers were placed on the "Challenger "1 and the "Mavi Marmara."

The Free Gaza Movement and the Malaysian Perdana Global Peace Foundation (PGPF) sponsored the cargo ship "Rachel Corrie" with 21 passengers. The "Rachel Corrie" had sailed from Ireland and did not arrive in the Mediterranean in time to go with the other ships of the flotilla. She was boarded by Israeli commandos and taken to Haifa Harbor on June 5, 2010, five days after the main flotilla was attacked.

Rachel Corrie

More ships attempt to Break the Israeli Naval Blockade of Gaza in 2010 and 2011


In September, 2010, a small sailing boat called the "Irene" and filled with Jewish activists, including two former Israeli Defense Force (IDF) soldiers representing Breaking the Silence, attempted to break the naval blockade and also was stopped by Israeli commandos and taken eventually to Haifa Harbor.

Gaza Freedom Flotilla "Stay Human"

In July, 2011, 10 ships from 22 national campaigns attempted to sail to Gaza. The Israeli government convinced the Greek government to stop 8 ships that were in Greek waters to sail for Gaza.  The US Boat to Gaza, the "Audacity of Hope," (See here) and the Canadian/Australian/Belgian/Danish boat to Gaza, the "Tahrir," (See here) attempted to break the Greek blockade and sail to Gaza, but were physically turned back to Greece by Greek Coast Guard and commandos.

Audacity of Hope   

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Ann Wright is a 29-year US Army/Army Reserves veteran, a retired United States Army colonel and retired U.S. State Department official, known for her outspoken opposition to the Iraq War. She received the State Department Award for Heroism in 1997, after helping to evacuate several thousand (more...)
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