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Israel to prevent new Freedom Flotilla to near Gaza

RIA Novosti

14:14 23/06/2011 MOSCOW, June 23 (RIA Novosti) - Israel plans to block Freedom Flotilla ships attempting to deliver humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, Israel's Ambassador to Russia Dorit Golender said on Thursday.

International human rights organizations earlier announced plans to send scores of vessels to Gaza, which has been under an Israeli blockade for the past four years, by the end of June.

"Israel's relation [to the announced move] is decisive, the same as to the previous attempt to launch this flotilla. All of the humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip could be sent via corridors approved by international conventions. If the cargo arrives at the port of Haifa, Israel always transfers it," Golender said.

She called the new attempt to send the Freedom Flotilla "a downright provocation," and emphasized that Israel would prevent it.

"There is absolutely no point in sending these ships. If they want to hand over humanitarian aid, they should do this using the channels. Israel won't allow the smuggling of arms which regularly fall into the hands of Hamas terrorist structures."

The upcoming voyage has been called Freedom Flotilla-2. The first such flotilla was stormed by Israeli military in neutral waters in the Mediterranean Sea in late May 2010. The raid claimed the lives of at least 9 Turkish nationals.

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