Jewish boat heads to Gaza

members of the Greek Cypriot Marine Authority after the boat set sail (photo: Vish Vishvanath/ Metro)

members of the Greek Cypriot Marine Authority after the boat set sail (photo: Vish Vishvanath/ Metro)

A boat carrying a group of Jewish pro-Palestinian activists has set sail for Gaza with the aim of breaking Israel’s naval blockade.

The boat, named “Irene”, left a port in Cyprus on Sunday morning.

It has been organised by Jews for Justice for Palestinians and the umbrella organisation European Jews for a Just Peace.

More than 40 activists had been expected to join the passage; however JfJP said there were ten passengers and crew on board, from Britain, Germany and the US.

The cargo includes fishing nets, musical instruments and textbooks.

JjJP spokesman Richard Kuper described the boat as “a symbolic act of protest” and “a message of solidarity to Palestinians and Israelis who seek peace and justice.”

In May, activists on board the Mavi Marmara flotilla were found to be carrying weapons including knives.

However Mr Kuper, who is not on board, said the mission was non-violent and that “multicoloured peace flags” would be flown.

He said: “We aim to reach Gaza, but our activists will not engage in any physical confrontation and will therefore not present the Israelis with any reason or excuse to use physical force.”

Organisers had originally intended for the ship to set sail in July but the plan was delayed by an £18,000 funding shortfall.

Last updated: 4:15pm, October 8 2010