Gaza Flotilla Participants Being 'Duped by Terrorists'

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ISTANBUL, Turkey -- Organizers of what is called Freedom Flotilla 2 heading for Israel say the riots in Greece are delaying their departure. 

Flotilla organizers want to break the Jewish state's sea blockade of the Gaza Strip because they say it is leading to a humanitarian crisis. Despite the setback, Free Gaza Movement insists the convoy of ships will set sail for Gaza within a few days.

But Israel, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and countries including the U.S., point out that goods already flow freely over land, either through the crossing in Israel or through Egypt. 

"The materials on the flotilla can be brought to the areas that they are needed in the legal way. There is no reason for this flotilla to get such worldwide attention," Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., said.

Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y., agreed, saying flotilla participants were terrorist pawns seeking to annihilate the Jewish state.

"This is really a flotilla of fools who have been duped by people who are thugs and terrorists, who are promoting a political cause trying to destroy the state of Israel," Ackerman said.

Israel's reason for stopping the flotilla is simple. Gaza is ruled by the terrorist group Hamas, who is committed to the destruction of Israel and is trying to smuggle weapons into the region to achieve that goal.

"Basically the best evidence and the reason behind it was given this past February when the Victoria cargo ship was caught with 50 tons of weaponry, rockets, missile, mortar shells, and advanced anti-ship missiles and radars that were provided by Iran," Jerusalem Post Military Reporter Yaakov Katz told CBN News.

During last year's flotilla, Israeli commandoes boarded the Turkish ship the Mavi Marmara. Armed demonstrators then attacked the commandoes, and nine demonstrators died in the melee. 

The incident set off an international crisis and strained relations between Israel and Turkey. 

The Mavi Marmara now sits in Istanbul Harbor. It's become a symbol of a profound change in relationship between two nations that had been traditional allies.

The ship is now under repair and even Turkey decided it won't participate in this year's flotilla - a sign, some say, of an improving relationship between Israel and Turkey.   

But other demonstrators - many from left wing groups allied with radical Muslim organizations - vow they will still set sail on their collision course with Israel somewhere soon in the Mediterranean.  

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Chris Mitchell

Chris Mitchell

CBN News Middle East Bureau Chief

In a time where the world's attention is riveted on events in the Middle East, CBN viewers have come to appreciate Chris Mitchell's timely reports from this explosive region of the world. Mitchell brings a Biblical and prophetic perspective to these daily news events that shape our world.