Israel’s Foreign Minister, Yigal Palmor, said the 19 passengers aboard the Irish aid ship, MV Rachel Corrie, will be deported to their countries of origin on Sunday.
The Israeli Navy has agreed that the contents of the ship will be searched for contraband and delivered to Gaza.
The Irish aid ship was intercepted by the Israeli navy yesterday and escorted to the port of Ashdod. The incident took place without violence according to the aid organizers and the army spokesperson, Avital Leibovich.
Among the crew were Mairead Corrigan Maguire, an Irish Nobel Peace laureate, Denis Halliday, former United Nations assistant secretary general from Ireland, and Mohd Nizar bin Zakaria, a member of the Malaysian Parliament. Their cargo included cement, tons of paper, wheelchairs and other aid.
Eliza Ernshire, a Free Gaza Movement spokesperson said “We’re back to square one…I suppose our task now is to organize the next group of boats to break the blockade and capitalize politically on the broad international condemnation that Israel has received for the way it has dealt with us.”
Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Natenyahu, today compared the peaceful interaction between the Irish ship’s crew with the violent and bloody acts, which were described as “priacy” which took place over the last week.
Nine people were shot dead on the Turkish ferry, Mavi Marmara, and many wounded and injured as the Israel Navy boarded the boats of the aid flotilla. Originally the MV Rachel Corrie was to lead the flotilla into Gaza.
He said “We have seen today the difference between a ship of peace activists with whom we don’t agree but respect their right to a different opinion, and a flotilla of hate that was organized by violent extremists.”
Army spokeswoman Lieutenant Colonel Avital Leibovich said the interception of the Rachel Corrie yesterday took only a few minutes. The captain of the Rachel Corrie had gathered the passengers in one area of the ship as the navy boarded.
The Israeli ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren said that the Israeli government is considering easing the restrictions on the flow of aid to Gaza.
He said “We’re open to any suggestions…We, too, are not happy with the status quo.”