Israel's navy intercepted a boat full of female activists who were seeking to break the country's decade-long blockade of the Gaza Strip.
In an Oct. 5 statement, the navy said it "redirected" the sailboat in order to prevent a "breach of the lawful maritime blockade" of the Palestinian enclave. The action was completed "in accordance with government directives and after exhausting all diplomatic channels."
Thirteen womenincluding 1976 Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Maguire and South African lesbian athlete Leigh-Ann Naidoowere traveling aboard the Zaytouna-Oliva sailboat in the Mediterranean toward Gaza, which Hamas runs. The boat is part of a coalition of pro-Palestinian boats that sail to Gaza in an attempt to break the blockade.
A petition to the presidency of the South African government "call[s] on Israel to release Leigh-Ann Naidoo and the women captured on the Zaytouna boat to Gaza."
Said petition also says, "It is deplorable that despite the loss of lives resulting from Israel's unlawful piracy in international waters, the Israeli regime has once again repeated its criminal conduct. By the same token, it is inexcusable that the United Nations and its Security Council have failed to warn Israel not to proceed with its threat to attack the [Women's Boat to Gaza]."
The petition is at awethu.amandla.mobi/petitions/release-leigh-ann-naidoo-and-the-women-on-the-zaytouna-boat-to-gaza .