Israel's UN envoy Ron Prosor asked the UN to try to persuade a Swedish ship carrying rights activists not to try to break the blockade of Gaza. "I call on the Secretary-General, the Security Council, and all responsible members of the international community to take immediate action to end this provocation," Prosor said in a letter Tuesday to UN chief Ban Ki-moon.
The Estelle, which left Naples on Saturday with 17 activists, was expected to arrive near Gaza in about a week.
He said the rights activists should instead head for Syria to deliver goods much-needed to address the humanitarian crisis there. He noted, however: "They understand that it is much easier to face news cameras in Tel Aviv than bullets in Damascus."
Proser added that the Gaza blockade was solely for security purposes, saying: "There is not a single civilian good that cannot enter Gaza." Israel says the blockade - imposed in June 2006 - is necessary to prevent weapons from entering Gaza, which is run by the Islamist movement Hamas.