UD is asking Israel to explain the boarding of Norwegian boat
The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (UD) has asked Israeli authorities to clarify why they boarded and took arrest in the Norwegian fishing vessel «Kårstein» with Gaza activists on board.
18 of the activists are still imprisoned after the vessel was boarded by the Israeli Navy. Two of the detainees have started a hunger strike, the organization «Ship to Gaza Norway» states in a press release on Tuesday.
At the same time, two Al Jazeera journalists are released, according to the organization. From before, it is known that two Israeli citizens have been released.
Among the Norwegian activists is Mikkel Grüner (Socialists) from Bergen and deputy leader in Ship to Gaza Norway, Gerd von der Lippe.
Boarded in international waters
On Sunday, Kårstein, who sails under the name of Al Awda («The Return»), was stopped by the Israeli navy in international waters some 53 nautical miles from the Gaza Strip. Kårstein had medical equipment and activists from a number of countries on board.
The expedition follows a series of similar attempts at breaking the Israeli blockade of the small Palestinian enclave in the farthest reaches of the Mediterranean sea since 2010.
Asked to clarify the order of events
The arrested activists are brought to the Givon Prison in Ramla.
– The Foreign Service at the Embassy in Tel Aviv has visited the imprisoned Norwegian citizens and provides consular assistance in accordance with the framework issued by the Norwegian Parliament, states Communications Manager at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Frode Overland Andersen.
– The Embassy in Tel Aviv has contact with Israeli authorities in connection with the case. We have asked the Israeli authorities to clarify the order of events and on what basis they base their intervention against the vessel, the Communications Manager continues.
The Israeli embassy in Norway has referred to the vessel and the activists’ actions as a «political provocation».
© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today