(JNS.org) The Israeli Navy intercepted and boarded the Gaza-bound ship Estelle in international waters on Saturday without incident.
The Finnish-flagged, Swedish-owned ship set sail from Naples, Italy on Oct. 7 with about 30 people from eight countries, including Israeli activists.
After an initial search of the vessel, an Israel Defense Forces spokesman said that no humanitarian aid was found onboard, according to Israel Hayom. Instead they found toys for children and a large amount of cement. Israel maintains an air, sea and land blockade of Gaza to prevent weapons smuggling to the terrorist group Hamas.
Commenting on the ship, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “People aboard the ship were aware of the fact that there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Their sole purpose was to create a provocation and denigrate Israel’s image. If human rights was truly important to those activists, they would have sailed to Syria instead.”
The peaceful interception of the latest Gaza-bound ship is a stark departure from the May 2010 Gaza Flotilla incident, when violent activists ambushed Israeli commandoes aboard a Turkish ship named the “Mavi Marmara.”