Irish human rights campaigners who are planning a daring attempt to break the Gaza blockade has vowed to prevent Israeli forces from boarding their ship.
Fintan Lane, co-ordinator of Irish Ship to Gaza, told the Irish Examiner that crews in the second aid flotilla will make it difficult for officials to seize control of vessels, including the Irish-owned ship Saoirse (the Irish word for 'freedom').
Nine people were killed last year when Israeli commandos stormed onto the ship Turkish Marmara, which was trying to break the naval blockade.
'If they attempt to board the ship, we will non-violently impede their progress,' Lane told the Examiner. 'We will not facilitate their boarding party.'
'We will not lay hands on them, we will not use physical measures against them. But we will lock down _________________
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At least 20 Irish citizens, including public figures like former rugby international Trevor Hogan, are taking part in the Freedom Flotilla II.
The crew includes skipper Shane Dillion, artist Felim Egan, former politician Chris Andrew and Member of European Parliament Paul Murphy.
Hogan, who recently retired from professional rugby, told the Examiner he was focused on getting to Gaza but had to be prepared for any eventuality.
'Anything we face is a fraction of what the Palestinians face on a daily basis and that gives me strength,' he added.
Lane said threats by Israel to attack ships with snipers should be condemned by governments, including Ireland.
Lane added: 'They are talking about engaging in a violent attack on human rights activists and it’s not good enough for people to say its too dangerous to go, because people in Gaza suffer this violence on an ongoing basis.'