Why is Israel Terrified of a Ship Full of Women?

“We will not even bring cooking knives.”

– Samar al-Hajj, coordinator of the all-women Lebanese aid vessel Mariam

The bloody wake left by the Mavi Marmara after the May 31 Israeli
commando raid has not deterred 50 female activists from trying to break
the four-year-old siege of Gaza. To hear Israeli Defense Minister Ehud
Barak speak of their planned relief effort, one would think the very
existence of Israel was at stake.

The women plan to set sail aboard the Saint Mariam, a
Bolivian-flagged cargo ship named in honor of the Virgin Mary, a figure
sacred to both Christians and Muslims. Although they intend to depart
from Tripoli, Lebanon, the crew is not only composed of multi-faith
Lebanese but foreign nationals as well, including a group of nuns from
the United States. So as not to give Israel pretext to attack, Hezbollah
deliberately did not sponsor the mission nor were any members allowed
to participate.

Its cargo? Books, toys, medical instruments and supplies, and most importantly, anticancer medication.

The ship cannot sail directly from Tripoli to Gaza since Lebanon and
Israel remain technically at war (and Israel controls Gaza’s
territorial waters) and thus must pass through a third country first.
The Mariam was scheduled to leave for Cyprus last Sunday but authorities
in Nicosia, capitulating to Israeli pressure, prohibited use of… >>>

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