“Given that an effort is underway by the vessel Estelle to break the Gaza blockade, and that Greek citizens intend to participate and bearing in mind the UN positions on the need to supply humanitarian aid to Gaza through official channels, the stated intention of the Israeli government not to allow vessels to approach the Gaza coast, and the immediate danger to human life and safety that is entailed in participating in the endeavor in question, particularly in light of the events of 2010 the Foreign Ministry urges the Greek citizens not to participate in the Estelle initiative.”
The Estelle, a sailing ship with pro-Palestinian activists carrying humanitarian aid which first set off from Sweden and left Naples in Italy on October 6, stopped in international waters off the island of Crete Tuesday afternoon, where it loaded up with food and passengers.
The ship then continued its journey with five lawmakers on board — one from Sweden, one from Spain, two Greeks and a Norwegian, the spokesman for the Ship to Gaza Sweden movement, told AFP.
In addition to urging the Greek citizens not to participate in the endeavor in question, the Foreign Ministry’s Secretary General, Ambassador Kaskarelis, on the instructions of Foreign Minister Avramopoulos, today called Israeli Ambassador Aryeh Mekel to the Foreign Ministry, reiterating to him Greece’s well known positions and stressing that the Israeli authorities ensure the safety and protect the lives of the Greek citizens who are reportedly taking part in the attempt to break the Gaza blockade.
The ship is part of the “Freedom Flotilla” movement. The movement’s first attempt to break the blockade ended in the deaths of nine Turkish activists after Israeli Navy commandos on May 31, 2010 boarded the Mavi Marmara in international waters of the Mediterranean Sea.
A second attempt to break the blockade last summer with a coalition of ships setting sail from Athens failed after Greek authorities intercepted the boats, banning their departure.