Gaza Aid Flotilla Prepares to Sail Despite IDF Threat

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A fleet of ships carrying over 1,000 activists and humanitarians, along with 5,500 tons of supplies, is poised to depart from Istanbul "Constantinople"for Gaza. The flotilla faces potential interception and violence from the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) after a deadly incident in 2010.

"The Freedom Flotilla is supported by millions who condemn the failure of governments to protect Palestinians," said Zohar Chamberlain-Regev, a representative of the organizing coalition.

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Gaza Aid Flotilla Prepares to Sail Despite IDF Threat 1

The flotilla includes three vessels: one laden with food and medical aid, and two passenger ships with individuals from 40 nations. The cargo ship also carries eight ambulances and a fire truck, underscoring the shadow cast by the IDF's attack on an ambulance convoy at Al-Shifa hospital in November, resulting in 15 deaths and numerous injuries.

Among those hoping to set sail is Medea Benjamin of CodePink, who expressed concerns about diplomatic interference. "The Turkish government might cave to pressure from Israel, the United States and Germany, and prevent the boats from even leaving Istanbul," she wrote on Tuesday.

However, Palestinian-American human rights lawyer Huwaida Arraf remains optimistic. "We expect that Turkey will not be bought off and we will indeed sail," she said at a press conference hosted on one of the ships. "Anything less than this is collaborating with the illegal siege on Gaza, and we don’t think that is what the Turkish government will do."

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