Published: Wed, August 01, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Norway Demands Israel to Explain Seizure of Boat Bound for Gaza

Norway Demands Israel to Explain Seizure of Boat Bound for Gaza

Unite's national secretary Gerard Hehir said the boats were in global waters when they were detained and taken to the southern Israeli port of Ashod. The group said the supplies were "a small but important contribution to the increasingly dire medical situation" in Gaza.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said the Al-Awda vessel was sailing on a humanitarian mission to Gaza, Palestine, with 22 activists from around the globe, including a Malaysian, Prof Dr Mohd Afandi Salleh.

Norway demanded that Israel explain the legal grounds for the arrest of a fishing vessel Kaarstein, which, being under the Norwegian flag, tried to break the naval blockade of the Gaza strip on July 29.

Gaza, a coastal sliver on the Mediterranean, is where Palestinian resistance movements enjoy massive public support.

The two sides normalized relations in June 2016, but their ties sank to a fresh low in May 2018 after the expelling of envoys amid growing tensions over the killing of dozens of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip at the hands of Israeli forces.

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In total, Israel detained 20 Palestinians overnight in a widespread operation, the military said, including students from Hebron University who are members of the Hamas student group.

An open military confrontation between the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and Israelis is looming amid regional and worldwide efforts to reach a long-term settlement agreement and avoid bloody conflict. "It is such a gross violation of global law that it can be characterised as a crime against humanity", participant Mikkel Grüner, a Danish national who is city councillor in Bergen, Norway, said at the time the flotilla set sail. Critics say it is collective punishment of Gaza's 2 million people.

The Gaza Strip is controlled by the Islamist militant group Hamas, which has fought three wars against Israel in the decade since taking power there. At least 136 Palestinians have been killed and thousands of others were injured by Israeli fire since the protest started.

"It is interesting that the two Israeli citizens released on bail have been charged with trying to enter Gaza".

He pointed out that both sides do not have political goals for a new war, stressing that Israel is more occupied with the growing threats on the northern front with Syria where it is attempting to impose a different reality on the Golan front.

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