Israel's statement on Gaza-bound aid ship

December 30, 2008 5:54:14 PM PST
An Israeli Navy spokesperson issued a statement on the incident between a ship bound for the Gaza and an Israeli naval ship.

The SS Dignity set sail from Cyprus on December 29 towards the Gaza Strip. During the process of identifying the ship, Israeli naval vessels approached in order to inform it that it would not be allowed to enter the Gaza Strip, which is a war zone and under closure.

The Dignity did not answer the Israeli hail and responded by making a sharp turn. The Israeli vessel was forced to execute emergency maneuvers in order to avoid the Dignity. The Dignity continued sailing and hit the Israeli vessel. Both vessels suffered light damage.

Following this incident, the Dignity answered the Israeli hail and began moving towards Cyprus. Israeli Naval ships are escorting the Dignity and extending any assistance required on its way to the Cypriot port of Larnaca. The Israeli navy offered its assistance to the ship and was told that it was not necessary.

The fact that journalists were on among those aboard the Dignity indicates that the purpose and behavior of the ship was primarily to create a media event.

Eytan Elterman, Director of Community Affairs


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