The Communication with the Women’s Boat to Gaza ‘ Zaytouna ‘ has stopped leading media organisations and activists to believe Israel is jamming the signal to the boat.
Al Jazeera, which has a correspondent aboard the Zaytouna-Oliva, reports that Israeli gunboats intercepted the ship and have redirected it to Ashdod.
Earlier, organizers said they lost contact with the ship, supposedly because of Israeli army jamming before taking over the ship.
There is no confirmation from the Israeli occupation forces .
According to tweets from the Women’s Boat to Gaza, the boat has been surrounded by the Israeli Navy and it is expected that the Captain, US Army Colonel Ann Wright, will be urged to turn the Zaytouna around before she enters Gaza’s Israeli occupied water and risks being intercepted by the navy and its crew detained.
The Zaytouna is currently in international waters with a crew of 13 international activists on board.
Thousands of Gazans have been waving Palestinian flags along the beach in preparation for the Zaytouna’s arrival and in solidarity with the peace activists who hoped to break the decade-long blockade on the Strip and breathe hope to those living in the enclave.
The Israeli Navy is expected to lead the Zaytouna to the port of Ashdod, north of the Gaza Strip, where the women will be handed over to authorities, questioned and deported.
The Israeli army has refused to comment on the reports saying a statement will be released in due course.
Earlier today, the group behind the flotilla released a public statement which said:
We as signatories are deeply concerned that these peaceful women activists on board the Zaytouna and their non-violent mission to break the illegal Israeli blockade, face such an unprovoked and unwarranted threat. The WBG is a solidarity mission to occupied Gaza and has no intention of entering Israel illegally.
Going on to warn of the possibility of violent assault by Israeli forces:
This humanitarian mission is in danger of being attacked, unless the international community, including the ANC-led government, steps in to prevent Israel from carrying out such crimes against humanity, crimes which it frequently commits with complete impunity.
In 2015, when the “Women’s Boat” attempted to deliver humanitarian aid to the coastal enclave, the Israeli regime’s naval forces boarded the vessel and forced it to change route.
A similar attempt by a Turkish flotilla resulted in the death of 10 activists in 2010, when Israeli commandos attacked the Freedom Flotilla in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea. They also injured about 50 other activists.