Another crisis on the high seas was averted on Wednesday when a Libyan-chartered humanitarian aid ship decided not to challenge Israel's maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip and instead docked in the Egyptian port of El-Arish.
Egyptian officials said the ship's cargo of food and medical supplies would be transferred to Gaza over land.
The organization that funded the ship had until Wednesday afternoon insisted that it would sail for Gaza and would not surrender to Israeli demands that it alter course either for Egypt or the Israeli port of Ashdod.
Israeli commandos were prepared to board and seize control of the ship if it tried to enter Gaza's territorial waters.
Israel continues to maintain a maritime blockade of Gaza to prevent the transfer of missiles and other weapons to the territory's terrorist rulers. However, the land crossings between Israel and Gaza are used to transfer enormous quantities of humanitarian aid into the area every day.
Following the May 31 incident in which nine Turkish activists aboard a blockade-busting flotilla were killed after attacking an Israeli boarding party, Israel and many international observers noted that there is no humanitarian reason to send aid ships to Gaza since so much is entering the territory over land. The only purpose behind the ships is to challenge Israel's right to impose the blockade.
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