In the early hours of May 31 2010, an IDF force seized control of a flotilla of 6 vessels attempting to illegally dock and unload equipment in Gaza. Prior to the flotilla`s departure, the Government of Israel had proposed to transfer the equipment via the land crossings in to the Strip however this offer was rejected.
The IDF seized control of a flotilla of 6 vessels intending to create a provocation by anchoring at the coast of Gaza and illegally entering the territorial waters of Israel. The IDF force diverted the flotilla to the port of Ashdod. Prior to the operation, the IDF force had appealed to the ships’ captains and instructed them to change course, however this order was met with refusal and profane language. During the seizure of a Turkish boat (“Marmara”), 9 people were killed by the IDF force following attempts to injure and kill the soldiers.
The departure of the flotilla took place after a meeting between the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Major General Eitan Dangot and the Turkish ambassador. During the meeting, Major General Dangot proposed that the ships dock at the port of Ashdod and that the equipment onboard, including the cement, be inserted into the Gaza Strip via Israel’s overland crossings after undergoing security scrutiny. This proposal was rejected by the flotilla’s organizers.
In addition, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories approached international organizations in order to coordinate with them the insertion of equipment, including cement, earmarked for international projects in the Strip.
Following the anchoring of the ships at Ashdod and the alighting of their passengers, the Coordination and Liaison Office, in conjunction with the Ministry of Defense, the port workers, representatives of the Ministries of Health and Agriculture, Customs and the Israel Police began scrutinizing and unloading the equipment from the ships and organizing its transfer the next day to the Gaza Strip.
Despite the efforts of the Administration, the Palestinians refused to accept the humanitarian equipment which included clothes, bags, medical equipment and pharmaceuticals, wheelchairs etc. and the equipment was therefore transferred to Ministry of Defense warehouses.
In addition to the humanitarian supplies, speckled camouflage clothes intended for use by the Hamas terror regime and medicine with that expired over a year ago were also found on the ships.
It should be mentioned that even during the unloading of equipment from the ships, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories continued his meetings with the international organizations in an attempt to coordinate with them the entry of the supplies into the Gaza Strip.