Statement by PM Netanyahu on the Gaza Flotilla
(May 31, 2010)
(Translated from Hebrew)
Last night a regrettable incident occurred, during which people were killed and others were injured. IDF soldiers who were compelled to defend their lives were also injured. This incident was the result of an intentional provocation of forces which support Iran and its terrorist enclave, Hamas, in the Gaza Strip. This enclave, Hamas, has fired thousands of missiles at the State of Israel, and it is amassing thousands more.
This is a clear case of self-defense. Israel cannot allow the free flow of weapons, rockets and missiles to the terrorist base of Hamas in Gaza. It's a terrorist base supported by Iran; it's already fired thousands of rockets at Israeli cities; it seeks to smuggle in thousands more, and this is why Israel must inspect the goods that come into Gaza. It's also a clear case of self-defense because as our soldiers were inspecting these ships, they were attacked - they were almost lynched. They were attacked with clubs, with knives, perhaps with live gunfire, and they had to defend themselves - they were going to be killed. Israel will not allow its soldiers to be lynched and neither would any other self-respecting country.
Our policy is simple. We say: any goods, any humanitarian aid to Gaza, can enter. What we want to prevent is their ability to bring in war materiel - missiles, rockets, the means for constructing casings for missiles and rockets. This has been our policy and yesterday we told the flotilla - which was not a simple, innocent flotilla - to bring their goods into Ashdod. We told them that we would examine their cargo and allow those goods that could not be used as weapons or shielding materials for Hamas into Gaza.
Five of the six ships accepted these terms without violence. Apparently, the sixth ship, the largest, which had on board hundreds of people, had a premeditated plan to harm IDF soldiers. When the first soldiers dropped down onto the deck of the ship, they were attacked by a violent mob and were compelled to defend their lives. That is when the unfortunate events took place.
We have a simple policy, which will continue. That policy is: we have no argument or fight with the population of Gaza. We are interested in allowing them to continue their regular routines. We want to prevent any humanitarian crisis in Gaza, but we are fighting the Hamas organization, which threatens the citizens of Israel and fires missiles at Israeli cities. It is our duty to defend the citizens of Israel, protect Israel’s cities and ensure the security of the State of Israel - and we will continue to do so.
Source: Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs