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Yelderom downplays Israeli threats to intercept Gaza-bound flotilla

ANTALIA, Turkey, May 26 (KUNA) -- Chairman of Turkey's Foundation for Human Rights, Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (IHH) Bulent Yelderom said Wednesday Israel's ongoing preparations to intercept the aid flotilla en route to Gaza Strip would not weaken the resolute of the flotilla to reach its destination.
Speaking to reporters here, Yelderom said: "There is no question of the flotilla backing away from the decision break the siege on Gaza." "The humanitarian relief organizations participating in this effort have a common interest to help the poor besieged people in Gaza; they have no interest in Israel or the other exporters of death to the world," he said.
Yelderom lashed the Israeli threats to the flotilla, consisting of nine ships, saying Israel has no option but to back down from its plans to bloc the way of the route of the aid effort dubbed "Palestine, Our Destination." "Israel is in a state of confusion in handling this issue. The aid convoy carries no weapons but it carries other tools to react; Israel will know later on about these tools," he said. Asked about reports that Israel suggested changing destination of the flotilla to Arish seaport, northeast Egypt in a desperate attempt to keep the blockade of Gaza, Yelderom said: "This is their (Israel's and Egypt's) business; for us, our destination is Gaza." Commenting on the delay of sailing of a cargo ship, originally slated for Tuesday morning, he said a technical malfunction in the engine of the ship was behind the delay.
Earlier today, the Turkish government has officially demanded Israel not to intercept or obstruct the flotilla.
"Israel must act in a way to deescalate tension and lift the siege on Gaza, " Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters.
The Freedom Flotilla, a multi-national relief efforts co-organized by the IHH and similar relief and human rights organization, carries 10 tons of construction materials, power generators, medical equipment, foodstuffs and baby food, with some 750 sympathizers from Turkey and several European and Arab countries on board. (end) ms.gb KUNA 261958 May 10NNNN