British Gaza flotilla activists blast easing of blockade

17th June 2010, Comments 0 comments

British pro-Palestinian activists on the Gaza aid flotilla said Thursday that Israel's easing of its blockade was not enough and they would be prepared to send further ships.

Speaking after a meeting with a British minister, the activists also threatened legal action and said they wanted compensation for the way they were treated after their ships were boarded by Israeli forces.

A dozen representatives from groups involved in the flotilla, where clashes with Israeli troops left nine Turkish activists dead, met Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt, who is responsible for the Middle East.

"Israel has no right to restrict goods entering Gaza," Ismail Patel, chairman of the Friends of Al-Aqsa campaign, told AFP outside the Foreign Office after meeting Burt.

"The easing of the siege is not acceptable to us because we consider the siege as illegal and they have to end the siege 100 percent."

Patel was on the main MV Mavi Marmara aid ship that was boarded and seized by Israeli forces on May 31 as the flotilla it led attempted to penetrate the Israeli naval blockade on the Gaza Strip.

"If our government doesn't change the situation or help to change the siege in Gaza then I am afraid we would have to do that again and I would repeat it again," he said.

"We hope that we do not have to do that. We hope our government acts to end the blockade of Gaza.

"However, the failure of the British government and of Israel to end the siege on Gaza means that civil society has to bear the burden on its shoulders."

Israel on Thursday approved a plan to ease its blockade of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip following weeks of international pressure over the flotilla raid, but provided few details on what new goods would be allowed in.

© 2010 AFP

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