Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

Flotilla will not sail from Greece

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After Greek authorities ordered a directive on Friday that no ship aiming to sail for Gaza be permitted to leave from a Greek port, the captain of the US vessel The Audacity of Hope, deliberately named as an affront to US President Barack Obama, has been arrested - effectively preventing the ship from sailing out of Greece. As Scott Sayare reports in the New York Times:

A judge contended that the boat, The Audacity of Hope, was not carrying proper safety equipment and charged the captain, John Klusmire, with "disturbing sea traffic and endangering passengers," a felony, and with disobeying an official directive, a misdemeanor, said Ann Wright, an organizer.

The flotilla last year strained the already weak ties between Turkey and Israel to breaking point. Since this relationship was seriously weakened, there has been much speculation that Israel has been forming a stronger relationship with Greece - a historic rival of Turkey. These reports may support the idea that a more cooperative relationship is developing between the two nations.

Meanwhile, Turkish authorities have noted that there was no truth to the allegation from flotilla organisers that Israeli agents had sabotaged an Irish vessel that had been planning to participate.

Separately, an investigation by the Turkish police concluded that claims by Irish flotilla organizers that their boat had been sabotaged while docked in Turkey were erroneous, according to a report in the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet that was confirmed by an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman.

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