The so called “freedom flotilla” has been stopped from entering Gaza and is being towed to the Israeli port of Asdod. The IDF released a terse statement:
In accordance with international law, the Israeli Navy advised the vessel several times to change course. Following their refusal, forces visited and searched the vessel in international waters in order to prevent the intended breach of the maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip. The forces have reported that use of force was unnecessary, and that the process was uneventful. The vessel is currently being escorted to Ashdod Port and is expected to arrive within 12-24 hours.
Truth is while ships are not allowed to head to Gaza, groups can send as much aid to the terrorist controlled area as they wish. Their cargo, however must be sent through Israel so it can be checked for arms. In the past Israel has intercepted ships filled with arms from Iran and other terrorist supporting countries. Of course the mainstream media never explains that fact, they claim it’s an embargo of consumer goods.
On Sunday, two of the three boats turned around and head back to port. The remaining boat was 150 nautical miles away when Arab member of Knesset Basel Ghattas sent a written message to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon warning to keep security forces away from the flotilla in which he is taking part, meant to break the Israeli naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. “Command the security forces to allow us to enter Gaza and avoid the use of force,” read the letter. “This blockade is illegal and a collective punishment contravening international humanitarian law,” he wrote.
Prime Minister Netanyahu replied with an appropriately snarky letter, which was to be handed out to each passenger when the ship was boarded by the Israeli Navy.
“Welcome to Israel,” The letter began, “It seems you got lost. Perhaps you meant to sail to a place not far from here – Syria. There the Assad regime slaughters his people every day with the support of the murderous Iranian regime.”
The letter goes on to list the large amount of medical and humanitarian aid Israel has shipped in recent months to Gaza as well as the abuses of the Hamas government in Gaza.
“If you are really interested in human rights, you would not sail to identify with a government that kills people without trial in Gaza, that tries to injure innocent civilians. Despite their attempts to hurt Israelis, we have been allowing over 800 trucks a day to enter Gaza, bringing in 1.6 million tons of goods. Those trucks contain about 500,000 more times worth of goods than the ships you have arrived in.”
The letter explains there is no blockade on Gaza, and that if the passengers want, they can send any humanitarian aid they wish via Israel
“With that we are not prepared to allow the entry of weapons material to terror groups, as has been done by sea in the past. These restrictions are in accordance with international law, and have been backed by a special United Nations panel.”
Bibi’s full letter in English and in Hebrew follows.
Welcome to Israel!
It seems you got lost. Perhaps you meant to sail to a place not far from here – Syria. There the Assad regime slaughters his people every day with the support of the murderous Iranian regime.
Despite that, here in Israel we are dealing with a situation where terror organizations, such as Hamas, are attempting to harm innocent civilians. Against attempts like these we are defending the citizens of Israel in accordance with international law.
Despite that, Israel assists with the transport of humanitarian supplies to Gaza – 800 truckloads a day, more than 1.6 million tons of supplies this past year. The equivalent of 1 ton per resident of Gaza.
By the way, the volume of equipment that has been sent from Israel to Gaza is more than 500,000 times larger than the your boats that you are arriving on.
Israel assists in hundreds of humanitarian projects via international organization including the establishment of medical clinics and hospitals.
But we are not willing to allow in weapons to the terrorist organizations in Gaza, as they have tried to do in the past, by sea.
Just a year ago, we stopped an attempt to bring in hundreds of weapons by sea, that were meant to harm innocent civilians.
There’s no closure on Gaza, and you are welcome to to transport, via Israel, any humanitarian supplies.
The sea blockade is in accordance with international law, and has received backing from the UN Secretary General.
If human rights were truly important to you, you wouldn’t be sailing in solidarity with a terror regime that executes, without trial, residents of Gaza, and uses the children of Gaza as human shields.
If you were to come to Israel you would be able to be impressed by the only democracy in the Middle East that is concerned with equality for all its citizens, and freedom of religion for all faiths. A state that operates in accordance with international law in order to provide its residents a secure life and its children to grow up in peace and serenity.