Israel turns away Malaysian aid ship from Gaza


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel enforced its naval blockade of Gaza, preventing a Malaysian anti-war group’s ship from reaching the coastal strip.

The Spirit of Rachel Corrie Mission, sponsored by the Perdana Global Peace Foundation, reportedly was carrying plastic sewage pipes to help repair Gaza’s sewer system when it was intercepted Monday in international waters near Gaza, according to reports.

Its crew claimed that Israel’s Navy fired on the ship early Monday morning when it crossed into Gazan waters. Israel denies firing on the ship, which returned to the Egyptian port of El Arish, where the crew reportedly began making arrangements to transfer the aid through the Rafah crossing.

The ship had left a Greek port on May 11 in an attempt to break the blockade. Members of the mission, named for an American pro-Palestinian activist who was run over  by an Israeli tank in a controversial accident, were anti-war activists and journalists. Seven Malaysians, two Irish, two Indians and one Canadian passenger participated in the mission.

The foundation told the Bernama Malaysian National News Agency that it preferred to deliver the aid by sea in order to establish Gaza’s right to control its own territorial waters.

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