Irish Aid Ship Heads Toward Gaza
Named after an American woman killed by Israel, the MV Rachel Corrie is the next ship headed for the blockaded Gaza Strip. The vessel departed Dundalk, Ireland almost three weeks ago filled with aid including 550 tons of cement, books, toys and medical equipment. The boat has fifteen pro-Palestinian activists on board.
Despite the Israeli raid on the Gaza-bound flotilla earlier this week, the crew has said they will press on and attempt to breach the naval blockade. Speaking to the BBC, crewmember Derek Graham said they are prepared for a confrontation. “We have made sure that everybody in the world knows that it's a fact that all of us onboard are unarmed,” he said. “We're all either activists or journalists or crew members on the cargo ship. There is nothing untoward onboard this ship. We will not cause any confrontation on board this ship. All we have ever asked for, is safe passage into Gaza,” he added.
Graham told Irish state broadcaster RTE, “We had a meeting after what happened on Monday morning and we were more determined than ever to continue with our mission.” “I will advise the passengers and crew to sit quietly with their hands shown so they cannot do like they did on Monday and claim we attacked them,” he said. “We are a peaceful mission.”
Israel has offered to escort the boat and deliver the aid to Gaza on their behalf, but Graham said he was worried that not all of the cargo would be delivered since Israel considers some of it contraband material. Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen has called on Israel to allow it to reach Gaza.