Navy has 'surprises' for flotilla

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 10, 2011

The Israeli Navy will "forcefully" divert the flotilla planning to sail for Gaza at the end of the month if the activists on board do not agree to unload their supplies in an Egyptian or Israeli port.

A senior naval officer said this week: "We have drawn the appropriate lessons from the incident with the previous flotilla last year and are planning some surprises this time if they insist on trying to reach Gaza."

Over 20 pro-Palestinian groups, led by the Turkish Islamist movement IHH, are planning to sail at least 15 ships towards Gaza with some 1500 activists on board.

This week Israeli human rights group Shurat HaDin warned UK- and US-based satellite company Inmarsat that it may be liable for massive damages and criminal prosecution if it provides communication services to ships in a future Gaza flotilla.

Meanwhile, hundreds of American and European pro-Palestinian activists are planning to land at Ben Gurion Airport on July 8, to take part in a demonstration. The plan is to travel from there to the West Bank.

It is unclear at this point whether the Israeli government can prevent this protest since the participants will be citizens of countries that do not need a visa to enter Israel and their identity may not be known in advance.

Last updated: 2:22pm, June 10 2011