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Free Gaza’ venture makes plea for funds

Organizers of a protest sea expedition to the Gaza Strip made a last-minute appeal for funds.

The SS Free Gaza and Liberty are set to sail Tuesday from the Greek island of Crete to test Israel’s assertion that it no longer controls Gaza.

On Monday, the organizers sent an e-mail alert through friendly groups saying they had spent more than the $300,000 raised for the venture.

“Except for part of the diesel fuel, we have already paid these costs by running our personal credit cards to the limit, borrowing money and asking some of the Greek crew to help,” said the appeal, linked to a PayPal site. “Frankly, we’re tapped out.”

The California-based movement includes activists from 15 countries, including Israel. The Free Gaza carries 26 passengers.

A second ship, carrying 18 passengers, is called Liberty in honor of the American battleship USS Liberty that was bombed mistakenly by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War, leaving 34 American sailors dead and 180 wounded. Both will fly Greek flags.

The organizers plan to enter through the territorial waters of Gaza, bypassing Egyptian and Israeli waters – a route that has not been used since 1967.

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