Sunday, June 20, 2010

Israel Preparing to Repeat the “Marmara” Scenario, Lebanon to Respond


".....This comes as some 50 Christian and Muslim Lebanese women as well as foreigners, who say they are not affiliated to any political party, are preparing to leave Lebanon on Sunday on board of the Lebanese aid ship Mariam. The first boat, Naji el-Ali, is set to leave Beirut with 25 European activists onboard, including parliament members and some 50 journalists, including humanitarian equipment. The ship, which will be loaded with medical supplies for cancer patients, would be the latest bid to break Israel's four-year blockade of the territory. Julia, which has been docking at Tripoli port for about two months, is one of two ships to be used by Lebanese, Arab and foreign activists to carry aid to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.....


Meanwhile, the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Rai quoted a diplomatic source as saying that US Ambassador Michele Sison met with Prime Minister Saad Hariri two days ago to warn him about the actions Israel could take to prevent aid ships sailing from Lebanon to the Gaza Strip.

The report added that Hezbollah’s declaration that it had nothing to do with the aid missions from Lebanon to Gaza might not be sufficient to avert a possible sea confrontation.

The paper quoted an unnamed Western diplomatic source as saying that the Lebanese government has not yet responded to mediation attempts to prevent the Mariam aid ship from sailing from Lebanon to Gaza.....

The Israeli daily Haaretz reported that since Wednesday, Israel has been exerting great diplomatic efforts on the international level to prevent the Lebanese government from launching the aid ships. It revealed that Israel had demanded from the Vatican to advise nuns against boarding the Mariam aid ship, seeing as tens of nuns have planned to be on the all-female ship. It also added that Israel had informed the U.N. and the Security Council that it intends to exercise its “right” in preventing the Lebanese ships from reaching Gaza.

Haaretz said that the Israeli navy and intelligence are preparing themselves for thwarting the arrival of the ships, with military sources stressing that ships coming from Lebanon and Iran will not be allowed to go near Gaza shores."

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