Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Is the Lebanese Gaza flotilla ship Miriam a phantom?

The IDF  reports the following:
The Saudi newspaper "Al-Shaq Al-Awsat" [should be "As-Sharq-al-Awsat] is reporting today that, according to the Lebanese Minister of Transport, the women's' ship "Miriam" is fictitious, and the Lebanese flotilla consists of just one vessel – the French-registered "Julia", which has taken the name "Naji El'adi". A source close to the flotilla, who refused to be identified, told the newspaper that the flotilla's organizers are encountering difficulties. He added that the vessel "Naji El'adi", which will fly the Bolivian flag, will carry just 1000 tonnes of equipment, and 16 people on board, 7 of them crew members. This comes in spite of reports that there will be 50 journalists, as well as dozens more human rights activists and European members of parliament, on board.

He also noted that another option exists: that the flotilla's organizers will rent another boat. In any case, however, there is no expectation that the flotilla will depart from Lebanon to Cyprus in the next 2-3 days.

Throughout the day on Tuesday, maintenance work continued on the "Naji El'adi", while soldiers from the Lebanese Army guarded the vessel and prevented people from approaching it. Workers at the port told the
newspaper that cargo has not yet been loaded onto the ship.

Regarding the international perspective on the ship, the newspaper reported that a large number of foreign embassies in Beirut expressed suspicion that their citizens will participate in the flotilla, and even approached the Lebanese government about this, though this is probably not intended to achieve anything to prevent them from sailing to Gaza.

In conclusion: According to this report, it can be seen that the key operations currently being undertaken by the organizers of the Lebanese flotilla media-oriented only.

On the other hand, Samar Al-Hajj – the organizer of the women's flotilla – was interviewed today by Al Jazeera and said that all the preparations for the departure of the ship "Miriam" have been completed, and that soon the ship will set out on its journey. It is interesting to note, however, that the very reporter from Al Jazeera that interviewed Al-Hajj expressed doubt about this.
The report is also posted at Doc's Talk

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