Initial contact was made between the Israel Navy and the vessels Tahrir and Saorise which are sailing towards the Gaza Strip. The purpose of this attempt is to create a provocation against the State of Israel, to break the maritime security blockade on Gaza, and to undermine Israel’s security.
The Israel Navy notified the vessels that the area they are en-route to, off the coast of Gaza, is under a maritime security blockade in accordance with international law. The Israel Navy advised the vessels that they may turn back at any point, thereby not breaking the maritime security blockade. In addition, Israel Navy soldiers presented the activists onboard with the legal options of transferring supplies to the Gaza via the existing land crossings and after coordinating with the relevant Israeli Authorities.
15:10 – IDF Chief of Staff has ordered the israel navy to board the vessels after all attempts to contact them failed.
Why did Israel impose a naval blockade on the Gaza Strip?
According to international law, it is lawful for Israel to impose a naval blockade on the Gaza Strip because it is currently in a state of armed conflict with the Hamas terrorist organization, the ruling entity of the Gaza Strip (see the law of blockade for more information). The Hamas terrorist organization is designated as a terrorist entity by the US, UK, EU and state of Israel.
Since taking over the Gaza Strip in 2007, the Hamas terrorist organization has launched thousands of rockets into major Israeli population centers, populated by one million Israeli civilians. During the last decade, Hamas has orchestrated a long series of suicide bombings, killing hundreds of Israeli civilians. The Hamas terrorist organization continues to smuggle rockets into Gaza via the sea and underground tunnels.
Steps for Transferring Goods and Materials into the Gaza Strip
1. To make a donation to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, contact one of the humanitarian organizations (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency and the International Committee of the Red Cross are the main organizations who regularly operate in the Gaza Strip). Contact details and further information can be found on their websites.
2. Humanitarian organizations operating in Gaza submit all formal requests to the International Organizations Branch of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), an Israeli governmental body which coordinates civilian policy including humanitarian issues, infrastructure projects, and economic projects.
3. The COGAT’s donations officer, part of the International Organizations Branch, is responsible for approving and coordinating the transfer of all donations. UNRWA, the Red Cross and other major organizations typically receive immediate approval.
4. Requests for dual-use items must undergo a project review.
5. Per submitted requests, Israel transfers thousands of tons in goods and materials into Gaza on a weekly basis via the Kerem Shalom land crossing.