Ireland asks Israel to allow ship to Gaza


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Ireland has asked Israel to allow an Irish-owned ship to break the blockade of Gaza.

The Rachel Corrie, named for the American pro-Palestinian activist who was run over by an Israeli bulldozer in Gaza in 2003, left Malta on Monday with 15 activists and humanitarian aid aboard.

Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen told his parliament Wednesday that his government formally requested of Israel to allow the ship "to complete its journey unimpeded and discharge its humanitarian cargo in Gaza," according to reports.

Activists on the ship include Northern Irish Nobel Peace laureate Mairead Corrigan-Maguire; Denis Halliday, an Irish former senior United Nations diplomat; and several other Irish citizens.

"We are an initiative to break Israel’s blockade of 1.5 million people in Gaza," Free Gaza Movement activist Greta Berlin, based in Cyprus, told Reuters. "Our mission has not changed and this is not going to be the last flotilla."

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