Israel seizes European ship bound for gaza strip to break blockade

Israel Seizes Gaza-Bound Ship

Israel Seizes Gaza-Bound Ship

The Slatest
Your News Companion
Oct. 20 2012 3:16 PM

Israel Takes Control of Gaza-Bound Ship

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Palestinian protesters hold anti-Israeli slogans during a demonstration in Gaza port Saturday to support the Estelle ship, which sought to breach Israel's naval blockade on Gaza

Photo by MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images

Israeli troops boarded a European ship that was attempting to break Israel’s blockade on the Gaza Strip Saturday. The ship was carrying 30 activists from Europe, Canada and Israel, including five European lawmakers, reports the New York Times. Those aboard did not resist the seizure and Israel’s Navy took the ship to a port in southern Israel. It marked the latest attempt to challenge Israel’s embargo on Gaza that it claims is part of an effort to prevent weapons smuggling.

Israeli Prime Minsiter Benjamin Netanyahu praised the military action and insisted that despite what the activists claim, there “is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza.” He added that “if human rights were really important to these activists they would have sailed for Syria,” reports the Associated Press.

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More than a dozen ships have tried to break the blockade since 2010, when Israeli troops killed nine activists during a raid on a flotilla of six ships. Although a U.N. inquiry into the incident found that Israel’s blockade is legal, it criticized the country’s navy for excessive force, notes Reuters. Hamas, which controls Gaza, has called for more attempts to break the blockade.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the Today’s Papers column from 2006 to 2009. Follow him on Twitter.