Monday, May 31, 2010

NYT: At Least 10 Are Killed as Israel Halts Flotilla With Gaza Aid

I don't know the situation of the waters off the Israel coast, but you would think that they would wait until the boats reached their own territorial waters before enforcing their blockade. Doing it in International waters only adds to the criticism from the world community and makes it harder for its allies to support them. Obviously, they did not know what or who was on those boats, and since Islam terrorist have threatened to wipe them off the face of the earth, they have to be extremely proactive to any possible threat.

My take is that the flotilla's intent was to break the blockade of Gaza, and that, in itself, makes those on the boats willing parties to this tragic event.

Israeli naval commandos raided a flotilla carrying thousands of tons of supplies for Gaza in international waters on Monday morning, killing at least 10 people, according to the Israeli military and activists traveling with the flotilla. Some Israeli news reports put the death toll higher.

The confrontation drew widespread international condemnation of Israel, with Israeli envoys summoned to explain their country’s actions in several European countries.

The criticism offered a propaganda coup to Israel’s foes, particularly Hamas, the militant group that holds sway in Gaza, and damaged Israel’s ties to Turkey, one of its most important Muslim partners and the unofficial sponsor of the Gaza-bound convoy. Turkey recalled its ambassador to Israel, and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan cut short a visit to Latin America to return home.

The I.D.F. said the ships from the convoy would be taken to the Israeli port of Ashdod, north of Gaza, where “naval forces will perform security checks in order to identify the people on board the ships and their equipment.”

On Sunday, three Israeli Navy missile boats had left the Haifa naval base in northern Israel a few minutes after 9 p.m. local time, planning to intercept the flotilla. After asking the captains of the boats to identify themselves, the navy told them they were approaching a blockaded area and asked them either to proceed to Ashdod or return to their countries of origin.

The activists responded that they would continue toward their destination, Gaza.

Speaking by satellite phone from the Challenger 1 boat, which has foreign legislators and other high-profile figures on board, a Free Gaza Movement leader, Huwaida Arraf, said: “We communicated to them clearly that we are unarmed civilians. We asked them not to use violence.”

Earlier Sunday, Ms. Arraf said the boats would keep trying to move forward “until they either disable our boats or jump on board.”
At Least 10 Are Killed as Israel Halts Flotilla With Gaza Aid

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