Israel said Thursday it will block the eight-ship flotilla of pro-Palestinian activists scheduled to arrive off the coast of Gaza this weekend, DPA reported.
If the ships try to enter Israeli-controlled waters off Gaza, the navy will intercept them and tow them to Israel's port of Ashdod, just north of the Strip, where the participants would be handed over to Israel Immigration Police, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor.
They would then be offered the choice to appeal expulsion orders, or wave their rights of appeal and be sent to the airport for immediate deportation, he told the German Press-Agency dpa.
He said the Immigration Police were preparing in Ashdod to cope with the arrival of hundreds of foreign nationals at once.
The flotilla with some 700 passengers is the largest yet to attempt to break the Israeli-imposed embargo on the Gaza Strip.
It is scheduled to arrive in Gaza waters sometime Saturday afternoon, one passenger, Ewa Jasiewicz of the international Free Gaza movement and a British-Polish national, told dpa from aboard The Challenger.