Following is the official Foreign Ministry statement released by Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon.
DEPUTY FM AYALON: Good morning, everyone. I want to report this morning that the armada of hate and violence in support of the Hamas terror organization was a premeditated and outrageous provocation. The organizers are well-known for their ties to Global Jihad, Al-Qaeda and Hamas. They have a history of arms smuggling and deadly terror. On board the ship we found weapons that were prepared in advance and used against our forces. The organizers’ intent was violent, their method was violent, and unfortunately, the results were violent.
Israel regrets any loss of life and did everything to avoid this outcome. We repeatedly called upon the organizers and all those who were associated with them, through diplomatic channels and any other means we could, to stop this provocation.
The so-called humanitarian aid was not for a humanitarian purpose. Had it been for a humanitarian purpose, they would have accepted our offer to deliver all humanitarian supply through the appropriate channels which are used on a daily basis, as we make sure that Gaza will not be in short of humanitarian supplies. On a daily basis, we do that. We ask them to send this through the appropriate channels, whether it’s the U.N., whether it’s the Red Cross, whether it’s our people, but to no avail.
In fact, what they said was that it’s a humanitarian campaign, but they said repeatedly that their intent and purpose was to break the blockade, the maritime blockade, on Gaza. The maritime blockade on Gaza is very legal and justified by the terror that Hamas is applying in Gaza. Allowing these ships to go in an illegal way to Gaza would have opened in fact a corridor of smuggling arms and terrorists to Gaza, with the results, inevitable results, of many, many thousands of civilian deaths and violence all over the area.
After these repeated calls where not heeded by the organizers, we told them that they will not be allowed to break the blockade, as according to maritime law we have the right to do that. Unfortunately, they also, people, the organizers upon the ship, did not heed the calls of our forces this morning to peacefully follow them and bring a closure, a peaceful closure, to this event.
No sovereign country would tolerate such violence against its civilian population, against its sovereignty, against international law. And we in Israel call today upon all relevant parties and all relevant countries to work together on calming the situation. Thank you very much.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem / Foreign Ministry)