The Turkish aid group that helped organize the Gaza-bound flotilla in 2010 in which nine activists were killed is making another attempt at reaching the Palestinian territory, it said Monday. The IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation is again challenging the Israeli blockade of Gaza, which is among the topics being discussed Monday as Israeli and Palestinian negotiators seek a long-term solution to the conflict.
The decision came after the so-called Freedom Flotilla Coalition of pro-Palestinian activists from 12 countries met in Turkey over the weekend, the IHH said in an email to Reuters. The group said it will launch the new flotilla “in the shadow of the latest aggression in Gaza." Palestinian and Israeli leaders agreed to a new, 72-hour cease-fire on Sunday.
"The Freedom Flotilla Coalition affirmed that, as most governments are complicit, the responsibility falls on civil society to challenge the Israeli blockade on Gaza," the Turkish aid group said. The HHH planned to hold a news conference about the plan Tuesday.
The flotilla that was bound for Gaza in May 2010 was stormed by Israeli soldiers before it reached the Palestinian territory. A United Nations report determined that Israel violated a number of international laws in the attack. The report also found that two of the dead passengers had wounds that were “compatible with being shot at close range while lying on the ground” and four of them hadn’t “posed any threat to the Israeli forces.” The incident further damaged the relationship between the Turkish and the Israeli government, once-strong allies who had icy relations following the 2008-09 Israeli war with Gaza.