PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting


Following are Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), June 6, 2010.

“I would like to thank the dedicated IDF soldiers, security officials and Government ministries that were involved in preventing the entry of the ship to Gaza.  Yesterday, the entire world saw the difference between a humanitarian flotilla and a hate flotilla by violent, terrorism-supporting extremists.  In both incidents, Israel used an identical procedure: We proposed that the ships unload their cargo in Ashdod port, where it would undergo a security check to prevent the entry of weapons to Hamas, after which the civilian goods would be delivered to Gaza.   To the previous flotilla, we even proposed that its cargo be checked by international organizations in El Arish.

We must not be confused.  Regarding yesterday’s ship and five of the six ships in the previous flotilla, this process ended without casualties or untoward incidents.  Only on one ship, on which dozens of thugs from a terrorist organization – or, to be more precise, an extremist, terrorism-supporting organization – had prepared in advance, armed with axes, knives and other ‘cold’ weapons were our soldiers compelled to defend themselves against a tangible danger to their lives.

According to the information currently in our possession, this group boarded separately in a different city, organized separately, equipped itself separately and went on deck under different procedures.  In effect, they underwent no checks.  The clear intent of this hostile group was to initiate a violent clash with IDF soldiers.  This truth is gradually spreading around the world.  It must be understood that this was not a unique incident.  This is a continuous process that enemies of Israel have been orchestrating for years in order to deny Israel’s right to defend itself.  It began in 2001, with an attempt to arrest Israeli officers abroad and continued in 2004, with similar attempts.  Then there was the Goldstone report, which was born after Operation Cast Lead.  This process continues today with the attempt to prevent Israel from stopping the smuggling of missiles and rockets into Gaza.

I would like to emphasize: We will not allow the establishment of an Iranian port in Gaza.  We will not allow the free flow of war materiel and contraband to Hamas.  On the other hand, we have no desire to make things difficult for the civilian population in Gaza.  We would like for goods that are neither war materiel nor contraband to enter Gaza.  Thus we have acted in this case as well.  I would like to stress that, as of now, Hamas is preventing the entry of the goods into Gaza and this proves it is not the assistance to the residents of Gaza that is important to Hamas, but provocations.

I would like to take this opportunity to again express support for the IDF soldiers and to wish a rapid recovery to the wounded.  They carried out a difficult mission with determination, restraint and responsibility and they are worthy of all praise.”

(YWN Israel Desk Jerusalem / PM’s media advisor)