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Jul-19-2011 00:55printcomments

Ha'aretz Reports: Israel Navy trails French yacht as it nears Gaza shore

The Karame was still sailing toward Gaza on Tuesday morning, closely followed by the Israel Navy.

The ‘Dignitי - Al Karama’ (Dignity - Al Karama) ship
The ‘Dignitי - Al Karama’ (Dignity - Al Karama) ship sailing off the coast of the French Mediterranean island of Corsica on June 25, 2011 to join the new pro-Palestinian aid flotilla.
Photo by: AFP

(TEL AVIV Ha'aretz) - UPDATE: A tweet around 3:00 our time says "a military ship has appeared on scene. Guess now the trouble starts?"

The French yacht Dignite-Al Karame, the only remnant of the Gaza-bound flotilla, was some 50 miles away from the Gaza Strip on Tuesday morning when an Israel Navy ship started trailing the yacht.

The Israel Navy contacted the Karame and demanded that the passengers identify themselves and state if they were carrying weapons on board. A member of the Greek delegation to Gaza answered the questions and promised that they are not carrying any kind of weapons. He said their destination is the Gaza Strip.

The Karame was still sailing toward Gaza on Tuesday morning, closely followed by the Israel Navy.

Greta Berlin of the Free Gaza Movement said the Dignite-Al Karame had previously declared Alexandria, Egypt, as its destination so it could slip out of Greece, and then changed its route to Gaza, saying it was a legal move.

Defense establishment sources said Sunday they expected no violent resistance from the 10 activists and three crew members aboard the Dignite-Al Karame, so its interception should be swift and smooth.

On Sunday night, 48 hours after leaving the Greek port at Kastellorizo and entering international waters, the French boat was nearing the Egyptian city of Port Said. The idea of entering Egyptian waters was dropped in view of the country's precarious political situation, and the yacht stopped in international waters.

___________________________________

Amira Hass is the Haaretz correspondent for the Occupied Territories. Born in Jerusalem in 1956, Hass joined Haaretz in 1989, and has been in her current position since 1993. As the correspondent for the territories, she spent three years living in Gaza, which served of the basis for her widely acclaimed book, "Drinking the Sea at Gaza." She has lived in the West Bank city of Ramallah since 1997. Hass is also the author of two other books, both of which are compilations of her articles.




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