The boat ‘Irene’, carrying the British flag, was charted by Jewish NGOs from Europe, acting in solidarity with Palestinians.
The shipment organisers said they were bringing gifts for Gazan children, including toys and musical instruments, as well as fishing nets and medical goods.
The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) stopped the boat in mid-ocean before it arrived in Gaza Strip territorial waters.
‘Irene’ was then dragged it to the Israeli seaport of Ashdod, and those on board said they were treated “aggressively”.
Under intense international humanitarian pressure, the Israeli government has eased the blockade on Gaza, but has refused to remove it or to allow non-land deliveries of a highly restricted list of goods.
Ghassan al-Khatib, director of the Palestine National Authority media centre, said the PNA strongly condemned all types of Israeli blockade and siege imposed on the Gaza Strip and the banning of the international campaigns from showing solidarity with its population.
“The Israeli measure is unjustified and an increase of blockades and violations of the solidarity activists’ rights who are only bringing to the blockaded Gaza Strip humanitarian aid to help its population overcoming their living hardships,” al-Khatib told reporters.
He called on the international community for “more serious and active intervention to stop such Israeli measures and an implementation of the international resolutions that called on Israel to end the blockade on the Gaza Strip, which is totally illegal.”