Truthout - A demonstration was held to welcome the Freedom Flotilla, a fleet of boats carrying international activists and humanitarian aid for Gaza, intending to defy Israel's embargo on certain types of aid. About 700 activists rode on the flotilla, including a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, an elderly Holocaust survivor and 17 European legislators. Yesterday morning, the flotilla congregated close to Cypriot territorial waters, preparing to begin its voyage to the Gaza Strip.
The mood was celebratory at the Port of Gaza. Hamas security forces looked on as members of other political parties shouted out their slogans, everyone hoping for the siege to end.
What a horrible difference a day makes.
Today, news reports and clips and dispatches arrived that I had never in my life expected to see. Israeli commandoes had rappelled onto the deck of the Mervi Manara, the big red-and-white Turkish aid ship sailing to Gaza. Counts of dead and injured rose throughout the morning, in horrible dribbles of information. Initial reports pegged the casualty count at two or three dead, 30 injured. As I write, Israeli television, citing the Israeli military, reports up to 19 killed and 26 injured. No one knows. No one can verify. No information is allowed out of the ships. Read more.