Israel's Position Presented in Press Conference
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon addressed the press Monday morning after the Gaza Flotilla operation. Attendance by the international media was sparse.
"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 with global Jihad, Al-Qaeda and Hamas. They have a history of arms smuggling and deadly terror. On board the ship we found weapons - prepared in advance and used against our forces.
"The organizers' intent was violent, their method was violent, and the results were unfortunately violent. Israel regrets any loss of life and did everything to avoid this outcome. We repeatedly called upon the organizers, and all those who 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 supplies through the appropriate channels which are used on a daily basis, as we make sure that Gaza will not be short of humanitarian supplies. On a daily basis we do that.
"We asked them to send [their supplies] through the proper channels, whether it's the UN, whether it's the Red Cross, whether it's our people - but to no avail. They said it's a humanitarian campaign, but in fact what they said repeatedly is that their intent and purpose was to break the maritime blockade on Gaza. [The blockade] is very legal and justified by the terror that Hamas is applying in Gaza. Allowing these ships to go in a illegal way to Gaza would have opened a corridor of smuggling arms and terrorists to Gaza with the inevitable results of many, many thousands of civilian deaths, and violence all over the area.
"After these repeated calls were not heeded by the organizers, we told them that they will not be allowed to break the blockade. According to maritime law we have the right to do that. Unfortunately the people and organizers on the ship did not heed the calls of our forces this morning to peacefully follow them and bring a peaceful closure to this event.
"No sovereign country would tolerate such violence against civilian population, against its sovereignty, against international law. And we in Israel call today upon all relevant parties and on all relevant countries to work together in calming the situation."
The following sound clip was released on Israel Radio earlier today, in which can be heard the IDF warning to the flotilla, and the flotilla's uncouth response (an expletive):