Saturday, July 2, 2011

Hamas raps Greece for barring Gaza aid

The Gaza-bound aid boat "Audacity of Hope" is escorted by the Greek coastguard ship in the town of Peramat, near Athens, Greece, July 1, 2011.

Source: Press TV

The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has condemned Greece after the coastguard of the European country blocked the departure of aid ships carrying supplies to the besieged Gaza Strip.

In a statement released on Friday, the group described the move by the Greek authorities as "inhumane," saying Greece had played into Israeli hands, AFP reported.

Greek security forces returned Canadian and US vessels -- part of the "Freedom Flotilla Two" -- to the port shortly after their departure. The mission is named after the first such convoy, which lost nine of its Turkish activists in a violent attack by Israeli forces on May 31, 2010.

"This is inhumane action, [it] is contrary to international regulations and norms," Hamas said.

"Barring this aid from reaching the Gaza Strip is done as a result of pressure imposed by the Zionist (Israeli) occupiers," it added.

Greece's Civil Protection Ministry said on Friday that the coastguard had been ordered to take “all appropriate measures” to bar Gaza-bound Greek and international ships from leaving Greece's ports.

The ban comes as organizers of the humanitarian aid flotilla to the Gaza Strip say the Tel Aviv regime is making Greece halt the convoy.

The Palestinian resistance group also urged the European Parliament and human rights organizations "to put pressure on the Greek government" to allow the flotilla to sail for Gaza to break Israel's blockade of the Palestinian coastal strip.

It added that the Israeli-imposed blockade "is unjust... and a mark of disgrace on the forehead of humanity."

Israel has ordered its navy to use all possible means to prevent the incoming international aid flotilla from reaching the Gaza Strip.

Some 1.5 million people in Gaza have been denied their basic rights, including the freedom of movement and the right to appropriate living conditions, work, health and education since June 2007 after Hamas took control of the enclave.

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