The crew of a ship carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza have rejected an offer to unload its cargo in Israel and take it across the border.
The Irish/Malaysian-owned vessel, MV Rachel Corrie, has vowed to continue to sail into an exclusion zone where there was a deadly commando attack by Israeli troops earlier in the week.
Activists refused to accept a deal brokered between officials from the Irish and Israeli Governments as the vessel sailed in international waters just 100 miles from Gaza.
First mate Derek Graham said: “The reason we rejected the offer is because we are trying to highlight the situation that Gaza is under siege by air, sea and land and we are trying to break that siege.
“We want to show this siege is illegal and subjecting a nation to poverty. If we bring this cargo to Ashdod it’s only a fraction of what they need. We need to be able to do this continuously.”
Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Michael Martin said: “If, as is their stated intention, the Israeli government intercepts the Rachel Corrie, the Government demands that it demonstrate every restraint. Those on board the Rachel Corrie have made clear their peaceful intentions and have stated that they will offer no resistance to Israeli forces.”