Israel Will Deport 19 Aid Ship Passengers

Though it continues to enforce its controversial blockade, Israel avoided another international fracas on Saturday as it intercepted the Rachel Corrie, a cargo ship bound for Gaza loaded with humanitarian aid, without violence. Israeli military officers boarded the ship with permission of the crew, and all 19 passengers on board will be deported without contest. “Today we saw the difference between a sail of peace activists…and a hate sail organized by terrorism-supporting violent extremists,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. Israel instituted its naval blockade of Gaza after it was taken over by Hamas, and claims a legal right to enforce the measure in international waters. Even without violence, pro-Gaza activists continued to criticize Israel’s actions since up to 80 percent of Gaza’s population relies on food aid. “This is unacceptable to be happening in international waters,” the Free Gaza Movement’s spokeswoman said.