A boat carrying international peace activists, including former Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, and medical supplies to the embattled Gaza Strip sailed back into a Lebanese port on Tuesday after being turned back and damaged by the Israeli navy, organizers of the trip said.
The crowds on the docks in the Lebanese port city of Tyre were jubilant and cheering as they welcomed the vessel.
The boat, which set off from Cyprus Monday wanted to make a statement and deliver medical supplies to embattled Gaza. The trip’s organizers said the boat was clearly in international waters, 90 miles off the coast of Gaza, at the time of its close encounter with the Israeli navy.
“Our boat was rammed three times, twice in the front and one on the side,” McKinney told CNN Tuesday morning. “Our mission was a peaceful mission. Our mission was thwarted by the aggressiveness of the Israeli military.”
She called on President-elect Obama to address the Gaza crisis, saying the weapons being used by Israel were supplied by the United States.
She denied that the incident was an accident, caused whent he captain of the Dignity tried to maneuver past the Israeli blockade. “What the Israelis are saying is outright disinformation,” she said. “What happened to us last night was a direct threat to our mission, but not our cause.”
In a press release, the Free Gaza movement stated, “Contrary to international maritime law, the Israelis are actively preventing the Dignity from approaching Gaza or finding safe haven in either Egypt or Lebanon. Instead, the Israeli navy is demanding that the Dignity return to Cyprus — despite the fact that the ship does not carry enough fuel to do so.”