The Israeli Navy intercepted a flotilla headed to Gaza, reports The Times of Israel.
The flotilla consisted of four vessels containing 50 pro-Palestinian activists. Three of the four ships turned around and went back to their points of origin, while losing contact with the lead ship, the Swedish-registered Marianne of Gothenburg. It is unclear why this happened.
The Marianne, which carried 18 activists and journalists, including former Tunisian President Moncref Marzouki, was boarded by the Israeli navy. More from The Times:
The Swedish-registered Marianne of Gothenburg will now be taken to Ashdod port, after which the activists on board will likely be deported, as Israeli officials had warned.
“In accordance with international law, the Israeli Navy advised the vessel several times to change course,” the IDF said in a statement.
“Following their refusal, forces visited and searched the vessel in international waters in order to prevent the intended breach of the maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip. The forces have reported that use of force was unnecessary, and that the process was uneventful. The vessel is currently being escorted to Ashdod Port and is expected to arrive within 12-24 hours,” it went on.
As The Blaze points out, this flotilla incident was much more peaceful than in 2010, when the IDF boarded a ship of activists that resulted in the activists attacking the IDF soldiers.
The passengers on board of the Marianne claimed to be transporting humanitarian aid, except that there was no evidence of any such resources on the ship.
The activists released this:
“We once again call on the government of Israel to finally lift the blockade on Gaza,” the activists said in a statement. “Our destination remains the conscience of humanity.”
Maybe if these activists spent this much time and resources focused to getting rid of Hamas, there would be more progress in the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went onto to release an epic statement and letter to the activists. In his statement, he praised the Israeli Navy while taking the activists to task:
"I would like to commend the sailors and commanders of the Israel Navy for their determined and efficient action in detaining the passengers on the ship that tried to reach the Gaza coast in contravention of the law," Netanyahu's statement began.
"This flotilla is nothing but a demonstration of hypocrisy and lies that is only assisting the Hamas terrorist organization and ignores all of the horrors in our region. Preventing entry by sea was done in accordance with international law and even received backing from a committee of the UN Secretary General," he continued.
Netanyahu then sent out a letter trolling the pro-Palestinian activists (emphasis mine):
"Welcome to Israel,
You seem to have gotten lost. Perhaps you meant to sail to a place not far from here -- Syria, where Assad's army is slaughtering its people every day and is supported by the murderous Iranian regime.
Here in Israel we face a reality in which terrorist organizations like Hamas try to kill innocent civilians. We defend our citizens against these attempts in accordance with international law.
Despite this, Israel transports goods and humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip -- up to 800 trucks a day. In the past year we enabled the entry of over 1.6 million tons of products, an average of one ton per person in the Gaza Strip. By the way, these supplies are equivalent to 500,000 boats like the one you came in on today.
Israel provides assistance to hundreds of humanitarian projects through international organizations, including the building of clinics and hospitals.
However, we will not allow the terrorist organizations to transfer weapons into the Gaza Strip by sea. Only one year ago, we thwarted an attempt to smuggle hundreds of weapons into the Gaza Strip by ship. These weapons were meant to target innocent Israeli civilians.
There is no siege on the Gaza Strip, and you are welcome to transfer any humanitarian supplies for the Gaza Strip through Israel.
Barring the entrance of boats and ships into the Gaza Strip is in accordance with international law and was even backed by a committee commissioned by the United Nations Secretary General.
If you were truly concerned about human rights, you would not be sailing in support of a terrorist regime which summarily executes citizens in the Gaza Strip and uses children as human shields.
If you were to travel around in Israel, you would see for yourself that the only stable democracy in the Middle East guarantees equality for all its citizens and freedom of worship for members of all religions; it is a country that upholds international law so that its people can live in safety and its children grow up in peace and quiet."
Right on, Bibi. Keep it up.