The Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has condemned Israel for its intervention on the Swedish leader vessel, Marianne, in international waters during its participation in the Third Freedom Flotilla to Gaza.
Israeli forces captured the civilian vessel off the coast of Gaza on Monday and took it to an Israeli port, halting the flotilla’s mission to provide humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza.
Veronica Nordlund, who issued a press statement on behalf of the Swedish Foreign Ministry Tuesday, said that according to international law only Sweden could intervene on its vessel in international waters.
“Granted the information we have been given, the Israeli navy intervention took place in international waters. According to law it’s only the flag state, in this case Sweden, who is allowed to act against another ship in international waters. Sweden has expressed their opinion on the event to Israel,” Nordlund told the Swedish press.
The statement asked Israel to lift the blockade in Gaza immediately and said the humanitarian situation there was a cause for alarm.
According to the official Freedom Flottila Twitter account (@GazaFFlotilla), Israel has imprisoned the Marianne crew. “Most of Marianne crew now in Givon prison, Israel,” it tweeted Tuesday.
“Activists of the Marianne, excluding [Arab Israeli politician] MK Ghattas & [former Tunisian president] Dr Marzouki, who were already released, now at Givon prison in Israel,” another tweet from an affiliated Twitter account (@ShiptoGazaSE) said.
Sweden is the first European country recognizing the State of Palestine.
Israel has maintained a tight blockade of the Gaza Strip since 2007, when Palestinian group Hamas took over control of the territory.