The Vatican State signed its first treaty with the “State of Palestine” on Friday, saying the pact “deals with essential aspects of the life and activity of the Catholic Church in Palestine.” A statement accompanying the signing demanded “courageous decisions” to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a two-state solution. Israel’s Foreign Ministry reacted by issuing a statement saying the treaty won’t do anything to bring peace closer but rather “moves the Palestinian leadership further away from returning to direct bilateral relations.” Meanwhile, Joint List MK Basel Ghattas was among several dozen anti-Israel activists who boarded small boats in Greece on Friday and set sail with the intention of running the Israeli naval blockade of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
“Hey Gaza, we are on our way,” Ghattas wrote on his Facebook page from the deck of the Swedish ship “Marianne.” He added “We are determined to reach our target despite the high seas and despite Netanyahu’s threats to have us arrested.” Other activists wished to make clear that they would not resist any attempts to stop them but threatened to bring any Israeli soldiers who obey orders to board and stop the vessels to international court for “crimes against humanity” but Israeli legal experts, noting that the UN has explicitely recognized the legality of the Gaza blockade, cast doubt on the efficacy of such threats. In related news, a Hamas drone crashed in Israeli territory Thursday morning.
The IDF said the drone crashed before they had a chance to engage it and that they had recovered it and would be examining it.
Elsewhere, Hamas launched an English-language website Thursday, declaring on its Twitter feed “We have launched our English website because we believe that communication matters.”
A subsequent tweet declared “And because we value your opinions and cherish diversity, we have also added a contact button,” along with a “smiley” emoticon.
Finally, the flotilla and Ghattas’s participation was met with mixed reactions from his Joint List colleagues, who encouraged him in public but privately expressed irritation that he had not coordinated with them.
“Israel’s blockade of Gaza is a big crime, and so is war and the killing of civilians,” chairman Ayman Odeh said at the opening of a Joint List faction meeting on Monday. “We support the humanitarian flotilla participation of MK Basel Ghattas, intended to raise the issue of the terrible suffering of Gazans living in a big prison.”