- On Israel's Blockade
- On 2010 Flotilla Incident
- On 2008-09 Gaza War (Operation Cast Lead)
- On 2006 Gaza War (Operation Summer Rain)
On Israel's Blockade top
"Since one of the main purposes of imposing a naval blockade is to use coercion against a hostile entity or state that is a party to an armed conflict, the affected population genrally feel the effects of this pressure.... The issue is not that there is coercive actions which impacts the population collaterally, but rather what the impact is and what mitigating humanitarian measures are put in place... Thus, the fact that the fabric of economic life of the civilian population is adversely affected as a result of economic warfare does not, in itself, amount to collective punishment."
— "The Turkel Commission", The Public Commission to Examine the Maritime Incident of May 31, 2010, Part One
— Major General Avichai Mandelbilt, Israeli Military Advocate-General
“If Hamas were in Canada, America would have a tougher blockade than Israel has. ”
— US Representative Barney Frank (D-MA-4)
"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."
-- Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Prime Minister
“I understand the need for the Israelis to maintain this blockade. If the blockade were to be broken, it would be impossible to tell which vessels were carrying humanitarian supplies and which were carrying deadly rockets. The bottom line is that the attempt to prevent materials that could be used against Israel from reaching Hamas is of vital interest to Israel and to its national security, and I fully support it. We cannot allow the international reaction to this incident to legitimize Hamas, which would undermine our search for a lasting peace that would create security for Israel and a Palestinian state.”
-- US Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
"It is entirely appropriate for Israel to have a boycott."
-- US Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
"The marine blockade was imposed due to security needs and meets the requirements of international law... The policy towards the Gaza Strip complies with international and humanitarian law."
-- Main Findings, Turkel Commission Report on Gaza Flotilla
“Please be assured of my solidarity with you [the Palestinians] in the immense work of rebuilding which now lies ahead and my prayers that the embargo will soon be lifted.”
-- Pope Benedict XVI
“So how can there be talk of lifting the Gaza siege and relieving the distress of its people, while Hamas concentrates all its efforts on recruiting and providing for its thousands of fighters. It is clear that Hamas’ priority is to look after its militants, at the expense of Gaza’s people and their suffering!”
--Tariq Alhomayed, Asharq Al-Awsat
On 2010 Flotilla Incident top
“This mission is not about delivering humanitarian supplies, it is about breaking Israel’s siege.”
— Greta Berlin, Flotilla Spokesperson
"We are going to resist [the Israelis] and resistance will win."
-- Bulent Yildrim, IHH Leader
"They [the Israelis] are going to have to forcefully stop us."
-- Huwaida Arraf, Flotlla Organizer
"This incident was the result of an intentional provocation of forces which support Iran and its terrorist enclave, Hamas, in the Gaza Strip...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 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...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."
-- Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Prime Minister
"It is important that we keep in mind that Israel has a right to ensure the security of its borders and protect its citizens from terror."
— US Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD)
"I fully support Israel’s right to defend itself and use the means necessary to ensure their nation’s security. The deliberate attempt to break the blockade around Gaza is a reminder that Israelis live with the daily threats of rockets and terror attacks."
-- US Representative Patrick Tiberi (R-OH)
"Upon landing on the middle deck, I fractured my arm, and a mob of dozens of people attacked me and basically lynched me. (The assailants were) pulling off my helmet, strangling me, sticking fingers into my eyes to gouge them out of their sockets, pulling my limbs in every direction, striking me in an extremely harsh manner with clubs and metal rods, mostly on my head. I truly felt that I was about to die, way beyond what we define as life-threatening."
—IDF Commando "No. 1", Testimony to Turkel Committee
"No regular citizen knows how to fight at night with a vest and gas mask for an extended period of time, to take a weapon, cock it, and fire without fear when engaging someone in a fight, unless he was properly trained ahead of time."
—IDF Commando "No. 1", Testimony to Turkel Committee
"I feel a number of people grabbing my hands and feet, lifting me up. In this second I realize that they intend to throw me over the side into the water. I resist, thrust wildly, struggle, but without success. It is important to state that also during this time I continue to receive very strong blows to the abdomen. I am fighting with all my strength until a certain stage when they manage to get me over the side of the boat. I am holding onto the side, with my hands, and hanging from the side. At this stage, the people from above me are hitting my hands and a second group of people is pulling me from below by grabbing my legs."
— IDF Commando "No. 3", Testimony to Turkel Committee
"Let it be emphasized that Gaza is open to the entry of all types of goods and products. Any organization wishing to transfer products to Gaza can do so through the existing border crossings. There is no need for any flotillas, which in fact comprise a provocation and have no connection to humanitarian aid."
-- Main Message, Turkel Commission Report on Gaza Flotilla
2008-09 Gaza-Israel War ("Operation Cast Lead") top
“During Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli Defense Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare.”
-- Colonel Richard Kemp, former Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan
“The [Goldstone] mandate was unbalanced, one-sided and unacceptable… The weight of the report is something like 85% oriented towards very specific and harsh condemnation and conclusions related to Israel and very lightly treats without great specificity Hamas’ terrorism and its own atrocities.”
-- Susan Rice, US Ambassador to the United Nations
“They [Hamas terrorists] dropped their weapons and ordered me to get them out, to put them in the ambulance and take them away. I refused, because if the IDF sees me doing this I am finished, I cannot pick up any more wounded people. And then one of the fighters picked up a gun and held it to my head, to force me. I still refused, and then they allowed me to leave.”
— Mohammed Shriteh, Palestinian Red Crescent Society
“Inside Gaza, press controlled by Hamas is heavy-handed. There are few press freedoms inside Gaza and Hamas controls who reports from there and where they can go. While pictures of wounded children being brought to hospitals are clearly encouraged, we rarely see images of Hamas fighters or their rockets being fired into Israel."
— Anderson Cooper, CNN Reporter
“Under international law, Israel is not required to allow Hamas to play Russian roulette with its children's lives.”
— Alan Dershowitz, Harvard University Professor of Law
“At this time we have to also recall the overwhelming responsibility of Hamas. I intentionally say this here - Hamas is a terrorist movement and it has to be denounced as such.”
— Louis Michel, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid
2006 Gaza-Israel War ("Operation Summer Rain") top
“When Cpl. Gilad Shalit was abducted by the military wing of Mr. Haniyeh's Hamas movement last weekend, his administration faced a choice. It could behave like a civilized government — and work to free the hostage — or align itself with a terrorist operation. It chose the latter. Hamas government officials endorsed the militants' demand that Israel release Palestinian prisoners it has legally arrested in exchange for a soldier who was attacked while guarding Israeli territory. Hamas justified this position by citing the terrorist movement Hezbollah, which has extracted prisoners from Israel in exchange for hostages, as well as governments that exchange POWs in wartime. Fair enough. But if Hamas wants to be equated with Hezbollah or define itself as at war with Israel, then Israel has every right to try to destroy the Islamic movement's military capacity, to capture its leaders...and to topple its government. Isn't that what happens in war?”
— Editorial, Washington Post (July 1, 2006)
“Hamas faced its first concrete choice this week between its ambition to govern the West Bank and Gaza and its extremist commitment to terrorism -- and it chose to side with the suicide bombers. The sickening Passover attack at a Tel Aviv restaurant Monday, which killed nine Israelis and injured dozens, was carried out by Islamic Jihad, an Iranian-backed extremist group that refuses to observe the shaky cease-fire Hamas has followed for more than a year. Yet, though the attack violated its own policy and undermined its interests, several of Hamas's spokesmen quickly defended it. The result was to put the Palestinian government on record as an outlaw and to raise dangerously the chances of a major new outbreak of Middle East violence.”
— Editorial, Washington Post (April 19, 2006)
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