JERUSALEM, Israel - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said difficult days lie ahead for the Jewish state.
"Dark forces from the Middle Ages are raging against us," Netanyahu told a Likud faction meeting on Monday.
"The [Turkish-led] Gaza flotilla was not a one-time thing. We find ourselves in the midst of a difficult and continuous battle against the State of Israel. The flood is being led by Israel's enemies all over the world," he said, people who are trying "to revoke Israel's right to defend itself, as well as the rights of IDF soldiers to protect their own lives."
According to Hamas, new flotilla initiatives are underway in Lebanon, Sudan, Iran, Britain, Germany, Norway, and Turkey. They're anticipating at least 10 more flotillas between now and October.
By the weekend, two more flotillas may attempt to break the Gaza naval blockade.
Iran is sending two ships this week. The first, which set sail on Monday, will make a stop in Istanbul, and the second will sail directly from Iran to Gaza.
"The ship is named "Toward Gaza" and will be dispatched to the region from [the Iranian port city of] Bandar Abbas [in the south]," Deputy Chief of the Iranian Society for Defending Palestinian Rights Mohammad Ali Nourani told the Fars News Agency on Monday.
"They [Israel] will confiscate our ship or martyr our people at most. Otherwise, the ship will reach Gaza safely and the humanitarian aid will be delivered to the people there. Either way, we will be the winner," Nourani said.
On Monday, Egypt approved the entry of Iranian parliamentarians into Gaza.
Yasser Kashlak, head of the Lebanese-based Free Palestine Movement, said the two-vessel flotilla he is organizing is not connected to any terrorist group.
"There is no connection between my boats and Hamas, Hezbollah or Iran," Kashlak said. "Israel's threat to use force against the two vessels will not prevent us from achieving our legitimate goal, which is to break the savage Israeli blockade on Gaza," he said.
"Israel's claim that the two vessels belong to Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas is a cheap attempt to distort the facts and is merely an excuse to attack the boats and kill the activists on board," Kashlak said.
At a press conference 10 days ago in Beirut, the Free Palestine Movement and Reporters without Borders called on "anyone who sees himself as a free man" to sail with them on the Naji el-Ali "to break the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip."
"The ship will leave the Beirut coast on the weekend with 50 journalists and 25 European activists aboard…and several European parliament members," a spokesman for Reporters without Borders said.
The second vessel, the Miryam, is said to be carrying medicines and humanitarian aid.
Meanwhile, Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tuesday morning that "a port in Gaza would pose a major security threat to Israel."
"There is no humanitarian crisis in the Strip," Diskin said. The problem is not "a loosening of trade restrictions from Israel to Gaza," he said. "The smuggling that endangers Israeli security is coming from the [arms smuggling] tunnels in the Sinai," Diskin said.
The Shin Bet chief said Hamas and Islamic Jihad have accrued about 5,000 medium-range rockets, some of which can reach Tel Aviv.
YNet news contributed to this report.