Sunday, June 27, 2010
Iran to Hide Behind Hizbullah in Lebanon Sail to Gaza
Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
Iran apparently is trying to save face by hitching a ride to Gaza with Hizbullah-Lebanese ships, after having backed down three times from its bravado that it would launch its own ships to risk challenging the Israeli navy on the way to Gaza."A Lebanese ship is heading to Gaza in a few days and Iranian lawmakers are trying to reach Gaza via this ship which is threatened by the Zionist regime," Iranian legislator Mahmoud Ahmadi Bighash said Saturday. He blamed Egypt for Iran’s backing down from its announcement that its Red Crescent organization would set sail for Hamas-controlled Gaza, saying Egypt had refused to allow Iranian Members of Parliament to reach Gaza by land.
“Egypt wants to misuse Iranian parliamentarians' plan to visit Gaza to improve its reputation ruined during the 22-day war between Hamas and the Zionist regime", said Bighash, referring to last year’s Operation Cast Lead. "The Zionist regime wants to spread pressures across land borders of Gaza …due to presence of aid flotillas in Gaza coast."
Iran announced Thursday it is scrapping its plan to sail, two weeks after it first ditched the launching of a ship to try to challenge Israeli sovereignty over the Gaza coastal waters. The United States and the European Union have backed the Israeli embargo to prevent the open delivery of advanced weapons from Iran, Hizbullah and Syria to the Hamas terrorist organization.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad originally said that Iranian Revolutionary Guards would escort a ship, but Iranian officials later denied the boast.
One of the boats from Lebanon apparently has finally received clearance to sail after several political obstacles kept it and another vessel in port. Cyprus reportedly has reversed its previous refusal to allow the ships to dock at its ports on the way to Gaza, the Associated Press reported Saturday.
"We have been granted permission to go to Cyprus and we are now in the process of making final preparations," said Yasser Kashlak, a Syrian millionaire who is sponsoring one ship. He did not disclose a departure day, but one news site has reported it will sail this Wednesday.
One explanation for Kashlak's claim of Cyprus’ reversal is that the boat actually will sail via a breakaway Turkish Cypriot island. A second boat, named the Maryam and scheduled to carry a group of women, still is docked in Tripoli, and it is not yet known if it will receive clearance to leave port.
Using Cyprus as a port in transit would circumvent Israel’s claim that a ship from Lebanon, a declared enemy, cannot be allowed to reach Israel.
Israel has said it will stop all ships from reaching Gaza, as it did May 31 when Turkish terrorist activists attacked Navy commandos before the Navy overpowered the Mavi Mamara ship. An inspection of its cargo proved that it was not carrying any humanitarian aid, contrary to its organizers' claims.