Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Source: Press TV
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says European states should stop the next humanitarian aid convoy bound for the Gaza Strip.
"I think it's something that you should transmit to your governments, that this flotilla must be stopped," Netanyahu told a group of European representatives on Monday.
He made the remarks as activists from 25 countries plan to sail around 15 ships to the Gaza Strip in May to mark the first anniversary of a smaller flotilla that attempted to sail to the territory last year.
The Cyprus-headquartered international Free Gaza movement and other pro-Palestinian organizations are scheduled to set sail around the anniversary of Israel's deadly attack against the Freedom Flotilla.
Israeli naval commandos shot dead nine civilian activists and injured scores of others on the Turkish Mavi Marmara passenger ship on May 31, 2010.
"If Israeli authorities thought that their attack on Freedom Flotilla 1 last year would break our momentum and scare us away from sailing to Gaza again, they were wrong," Free Gaza said in a statement on its website.
"We are now organizing Freedom Flotilla 2, scheduled to set sail in late May 2011, with twice as many vessels as we had last year."
Israel has imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip since June 2007, preventing the entry of hundreds of items, including essential industrial materials.
The siege has caused a humanitarian disaster in the impoverished coastal enclave, where more than 1.5 million Palestinians are living under the relentless Israeli blockade.