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Israel won't allow flotilla to approach Gaza Strip
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 01 - 10 - 2012


Mohammed Mar'i
Saudi Gazette

RAMALLAH — The Israeli foreign ministry announced that Israel will not allow a new flotilla to approach Gaza Strip to break Israel's sea blockade.
The ministry said in a statement that Israel was in contact with the governments whose citizens were passengers on the ship.
The Israel's Radio said that “Estelle” is due to reach Gaza waters in the middle of October after stopping in a number of European ports to pick up passengers.
Israel imposed an economic siege on Gaza Strip in June 2006 when Hamas-led armed groups kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in a cross border raid near the enclave.
Israel tightened the siege in June 2007, when Hamas routed security forces of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and ousted his Fatah movement from the area.
Israel calls its Gaza blockade a precaution against arms reaching Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups by sea. Palestinians and their supporters say the blockade is an illegal collective punishment.
Israel loosened its Gaza blockade to defuse international criticism after its commandos killed nine Turks in Mavi Marmara on May 2010. However, Israel still restricts shipments of construction materials through its land crossings with Gaza.
The Palestinian Ministry of National Economy said that the Palestinian Authority lost $1.9 billion due to siege on Gaza Strip.


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