The IDF Navy has intercepted the Gaza flotilla heading to Gaza. There are no reports of injuries. The vessels involved in the flotilla are now being escorted by the navy to the Port of Ashdod. Details to follow.
Navy Shayetet 13 commandos took control of the flotilla vessels heading to Gaza under the name Gaza Flotilla 3, the IDF Spokesman’s Office confirms. According to the official announcement the mission was ordered by “the senior political echelon after exhausting all diplomatic channels”. The operation to assume control of the vessels was reportedly swift and without injuries.
When it became clear participants in the flotilla were not going to abide by navy instructions to head to the Port of Ashdod, the decision was made to take over the vessels, which are now enroute to the port under navy escort.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday morning 12 Tammuz issued the following statement in response to the successful naval operation. “I would like to commend the sailors and commanders of the Israel Navy for their determined and efficient action in detaining the passengers on the ship that tried to reach the Gaza coast in contravention of the law. This flotilla is nothing but a demonstration of hypocrisy and lies that is only assisting the Hamas terrorist organization and ignores all of the horrors in our region. Preventing entry by sea was done in accordance with international law and even received backing from a committee of the UN Secretary General.
“Israel is the only democracy that defends itself in accordance with international law. We are not prepared to accept the entry of war materiel to the terrorist organizations in Gaza as has been done by sea in the past. Just last year we foiled an attempt to smuggle by sea hundreds of weapons that were destined for use in attacks against Israel’s citizens.
“There is no siege on Gaza. Israel assists in transferring goods and humanitarian equipment to Gaza – approximately 800 trucks a day that have recently brought into Gaza more than 1.6 million tons of goods. Moreover, Israel assists in hundreds of humanitarian projects, through international organizations, including the building of clinics and hospitals. Israel is a state that seeks peace and acts in accordance with international law so that the residents of Gaza might have safe lives and their children may grow up in peace and quiet.”
Following is the text of the letter that was issued last night:
“Welcome to Israel,
You seem to have gotten lost. Perhaps you meant to sail to a place not far from here – Syria, where Assad’s army is slaughtering its people every day, and is supported by the murderous Iranian regime.
Here in Israel we face a reality in which terrorist organizations like Hamas try to kill innocent civilians. We defend our citizens against these attempts in accordance with international law.
Despite this, Israel transports goods and humanitarian aid into Gaza– up to 800 trucks a day. In the past year we enabled the entry of over 1.6 million tons of products, an average of one ton per person in the Gaza Strip. By the way, these supplies are equivalent to 500,000 boats like the one you came in on today.
Israel provides assistance to hundreds of humanitarian projects through international organizations, including the building of clinics and hospitals.
However, we will not allow the terrorist organizations to transfer weapons into Gaza by sea. Only one year ago, we thwarted an attempt to smuggle hundreds of weapons into Gaza by ship. These weapons were meant to target innocent Israeli civilians.
There is no siege on Gaza, and you are welcome to transfer any humanitarian supplies for Gaza through Israel.
Barring the entrance of boats and ships into t Gaza is in accordance with international law, and was even backed by a committee commissioned by the United Nations Secretary General.
If you were truly concerned about human rights, you would not be sailing in support of a terrorist regime which summarily executes citizens in Gaza, and uses children as human shields.
If you were to travel around in Israel, you would see for yourself that the only stable democracy in the Middle East guarantees equality for all its citizens and freedom of worship for members of all religions; it is a country that upholds international law so that its people can live in safety and its children grow up in peace and quiet.”
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)