April 5, 2024 | Flash Brief

Gaza Flotilla Plans Mid-April Sailing

April 5, 2024 | Flash Brief

Gaza Flotilla Plans Mid-April Sailing

Latest Developments

A coalition of pro-Palestinian activist groups, including a Turkish charity outlawed by Israel, plans to send several ships to breach the Gaza Strip blockade in mid-April. The Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FFC), which previously said it would set sail for Gaza in early March, provided the new target date in a statement on April 4. The FFC said that “multiple vessels” will take part in the flotilla — an apparent expansion from the two ships originally planned.

While ostensibly aiming to bring aid to Palestinians in Gaza, the FFC said the ships would also carry “hundreds of international human rights observers to challenge the ongoing illegal Israeli blockade.” Scorning efforts already underway by multiple countries to increase aid deliveries into Gaza, the FFC asserted “The Cyprus maritime corridor, the U.S. floating pier project, and symbolic air drops of food are all distractions,”

Among the 12 groups in the flotilla is the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), which supports Hamas and is outlawed by Israel. The IHH previously sent a flotilla of six ships to Gaza in 2010, leading to a lethal confrontation at sea with Israeli forces on one of them, the Mavi Marmara. Among FFC organizers is Zahir Birawi, who allegedly has strong ties to Hamas.

Expert Analysis

“There can be little doubt that this flotilla is meant as a pure provocation. The participants surely know that, even if they were allowed through the maritime cordon, there is nowhere on the war-wrecked Gaza coast for them to land. Turkey cannot be allowed to abet this dangerous stunt as it did with the 2010 Mavi Marmara debacle. Cyprus is enabling direct shipping of aid to the Gaza Strip, and the United States is pursuing its controversial plan to build a pier. The U.S. Navy will certainly have its hands full securing these projects. It cannot afford a swarm of unsanctioned vessels trying to dart past it into a combat zone.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“We’ve seen this movie before. Produced by Erdogan, directed by Hamas, starring violence and provocation. The United States should hold Turkey accountable now to ensure history does not repeat itself.” — Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

Turkey-Based Organization Prepares to Send Flotilla to Gaza,” FDD Flash Brief

Sanction the Hamas nongovernmental organization in Turkey,” by Sinan Ciddi and Jonathan Schanzer

Erdogan Pushes for Another Hamas Flotilla,” FDD Flash Brief


Israel Israel at War Turkey