Global media is reporting that at a press conference organized by a member of the European parliament, “Pro-Palestinian groups” announced that they are planning to send another flotilla to Gaza next month. According to a Reuters report:
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – A Turkish pro-Palestinian group said on Wednesday it will send another aid flotilla to Gaza next month, again trying to break an Israeli blockade after its last convoy was the target of a deadly Israeli raid in May. The Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Aid (IHH) told members of the European Parliament it had assembled six ships for the next flotilla and put out an appeal for others to join. Its last flotilla was intercepted off the coast of Gaza on May 31. Clashes broke out on one of the ships as Israeli commandos boarded it to enforce a blockade, and in fighting that followed Israeli forces shot dead nine Turkish men. The next flotilla is due to sail in the second half of July, IHH said. The group invited the international media to inspect all goods on board before the convoy sails to “demonstrate their commitment to total transparency.” Israel says the IHH has links to Muslim militants, which the group denies. Richard Howitt, a British member of the European Parliament who organised IHH’s press conference at the parliament in Strasbourg, said the European Union had an obligation to ensure respect for humanitarian law and access for the next flotilla. “If this terrible tragedy tips the balance so that the international community finally insists on full and unhindered humanitarian access to Gaza, then some good can still come out of it,” he said, referring to the deaths in the last convoy. Israel has said it is considering softening its blockade in the wake of international condemnation of the flotilla assault. The EU said on Monday it hoped the easing would begin “in the next days.” Israel has said it will also hold an investigation into the incident. The probe will be conducted internally with two high-profile foreign observers, rather than being an international inquiry as the United Nations has requested. The Gaza blockade has been in place since shortly after Hamas, a militant group, won Palestinian elections in 2006. Israel says the measures are designed to stop arms and “dual-use” equipment reaching Hamas and other militant groups. Iran, in a move likely to aggravate Israel, said on Monday it was also sending aid ships to Gaza. One left on Sunday and another will leave on Friday carrying food, construction material and toys, Iranian state radio reported.
What the media describes as a “pro-Palestinian group” is identified by an AFP report which says that a spokesman for the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza ) ECESG) spoke to reporters at the press conference. A NEFA Foundation report documents the ties between the ECESG and the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE), essentially the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe. In addition to his role as charman of the ECESG, Arafat Madi (aka Arafat Madi Shoukri) is the executive director of the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) which has also strong ties to the global Muslim Brotherhood.
Two PRC directors are also directors of the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), generally regarded as part of the UK. Muslim Brotherhood. The PRC is also listed as an affiliate of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) dominated by UK. Muslim Brotherhood groups. PRC activities are frequently promoted by the MAB, MCB, and other U.K Brotherhood organizations. PRC director Ghassan Four is also a Trustee of INTERPAL, a key member of the Union of Good and part of the Muslim Brotherhood Hamas fund-raising network . PRC director Zaher Birawi is a Trustee of Education Aid for Palestine (EAP), also a part of the Union of Good. Mr. Birawi is also head of programming for Al-Hiwar TV which frequently features MB/Hamas individuals and organizations and was founded by Azzam Al-Tamimi, a U.K Muslim Brotherhood leader and close to Hamas. An Israeli web site, known to be close to Israeli military intelligence, has reported that Mr. Birawi, along with another PRC Trustee, are “past Hamas operatives who found refuge in Britain in the early nineties.” The PRC has also been the co-sponsor of several conferences in Europe associated with Hamas. For example, the PRC was the co-sponsor of the Sixth Palestinians In Europe Conference which featured Nihad Awad of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), former US. Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammad Akram Al-Adlouni, and Raed Salah, a leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel and close to Hamas. The 2009 conference was addressed via video link by Gaza Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.