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Gaza activists fly back to Dublin

Five Irish activists whose ship was blocked from delivering humanitarian relief supplies to Gaza will arrive back in Dublin on Monday, it was confirmed.

The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign said the prisoners from the MV Rachel Corrie who were deported from Israel will board a flight from Tel Aviv in the morning.

The boat was the last remaining vessel of the Gaza Freedom flotilla, a 40-nation effort to break through Israel's illegal blockade.

Foreign Affairs Minister Michael Martin paid tribute to those on board the Rachel Corrie for their peaceful demonstration.

He maintained one crew member even facilitated the boarding by throwing a rope down over the side of the cargo ship.

"I think it demonstrated the capacity of people to engage in political protests, to make their point peacefully," said Mr Martin.

"I hope it's something the Israeli Government will take on board and not to be branding people like this as being on a voyage of hate, as one minister did last week."

Former UN assistant secretary-general Denis Halliday, Nobel peace prize winner Mairead Maguire, Derek Graham, who has been on four of the five voyages which docked in Gaza, his wife Jenny, and Dundalk film-maker Fiona Thompson were among the Irish members of the relief mission.

It is understood six Malaysians and a Cuban from the vessel have already left Israel through the West Bank.

The 1,200-tonne MV Rachel Corrie - named after an American college student crushed to death by a bulldozer in 2003 while protesting against Israeli house demolitions in Gaza - is docked in Ashdod with hundreds of tonnes of aid.

Press Association


From Belfast Telegraph