NEWS:: Lebanese PM and Hezbollah oppose Lebanese ships to Gaza; Quartet opposes more flotillas


June 24, 9:30 PM

According to reports from Israeli media, the planned launch of Lebanese ships bound for Gaza may have run aground.

Lebanese prime minister Said Hariri and Hezbollah are working to stop the Lebanese flotilla, according to a report attributed originally to Al Liwa,  an Arabic daily.

They are concerned that the flotilla will raise tensions in the area, and Hariri is reported to be concerned about alienating European nations that have troops in a United Nations peace keeping force in Southern Lebanon.

Prior to the Turkey flagged flotilla, Israel reported they expected the border between Lebanon and Israel (Lebanon’s southern border) to remain quiet this summer despite the build-up of Hezbollah’s rocket stockpile.

Haaretz reported late today that the Iranians have cancelled their flotilla. However Army Radio reports that another ship is being prepared. There were earlier reports today from Al Liwa that the Iranians were considering canceling their flotilla.

Also today, the state department announced that the U.S. , with other members of the Quartet, supports the process Israel has in place to inspect and deliver goods bound for Gaza and disapproves of further aid flotillas for Gaza.  Specifically, the U.S. State department released the following statement, as reported by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency:

“We, along with our partners in the Quartet, urge all those wishing to deliver goods to do so through established channels so that their cargo can be inspected and transferred via land crossings into Gaza,” it said. “There is no need for unnecessary confrontations, and we, along with our partners in the Quartet, call on all parties to act responsibly in meeting the needs of the people of Gaza.”

The Quartet consists of the four primary players in the Middle East peace process: the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations.

On Sunday, hundreds of flotilla activists protested Israel’s interception of the Turkey flagged flotilla at the Port of Oakland, as an Israeli cargo vessel tried to unload. The protest reportedly delayed the unloading of the Israeli ship by about one day. (See video.)

In another protest of Israel’s interception of the Turkish flotilla, some 1500 Swedish dock workers began a week-long boycott of Israeli ships Tuesday at midnight.

At the beginning of the the month, a Turkey flagged flotilla of six ships tried to run Israel’s blockade of Gaza. One of the six ships in the Turkish flotilla was boarded by individual Israeli soldiers sliding down ropes from helicopters. As they landed on the ship’s top deck, armed with paint guns and small side-arms, they were set upon by a mob of 40 armed IHH recruits, nine of whom were eventually killed by the Israelis.


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