Campaigners eye new Gaza flotilla in 2011
Aid groups behind May's ill-fated peace flotilla to Gaza, in which nine people were killed by Israeli commandos, are planning a new attempt next year, campaigners said on Tuesday.
The Urgence Collectif Palestine (Emergency Collective Palestine) said members of the "Freedom Flotilla Coalition" decided during a two-day meeting in Geneva that a second flotilla would be ready to make another sea voyage to Gaza in the first half of 2011.
"We're aiming for a crossing next spring, between February and April-May," said Nathan Finkelstein of the Collective, who took part in the meeting.
"We'll bring humanitarian aid, but that's not the principal aim of the operation. The main aim is to press Israel to end the blockade," he told AFP.
On May 31, Israeli commandos stormed a flotilla of six humanitarian ships as it approached the Gaza Strip. Nine Turkish activists were killed on the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara, sparking international condemnation.
"There will be more boats than last time," Finkelstein said, while insisting that the flotilla would remain an unarmed civilian protest.
The groups that met in Geneva on October 10-11 included British, Canadian, French, Greek, Irish, Swiss, Turkish, and US campaigners, according to Finkelstein's group.
© 2010 AFP