Barak Warns Lebanon on Flotilla

Barak warns Lebanon that if its citizens attempt to 'bust' Hamas blockade, it will be responsible for the consequences. Israel's envoy warns UN.

Maayana Miskin , | updated: 21:30

Israel may face another flotilla
Israel may face another flotilla
Israel news photo: Flash 90

If Lebanon allows citizens to set sail for Gaza from its ports, it will bear responsibility for the consequences, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Thursday. A group of Lebanese are organizing a flotilla that plans to defy Israel's naval blockade of Hamas-run Gaza.

"I say clearly to the government of Lebanon: You are responsible for the boats leaving your ports, which have the clear and stated intention of trying to break the naval blockade on Gaza,” he warned.

The Lebanese government must prevent the loading of weapons, ammunition, or similar things onto the boats, he added. Such cargo “could lead to a violent and dangerous confrontation if the ship refuses to come to Ashdod,” he explained.

Women activists in Lebanon are reportedly preparing a voyage to attempt to 'bust the blockade' on Gaza.

In a letter to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon quoted by Israeli radio stations, Ambassador Gabriella Shalev said Israel suspected that organisers might be linked to Lebanon's Hizbullah and that Israel has every right by international law to use whatever means are necessary to prevent the boats from reaching Gaza..

In May, Turkey and a handful of other countries sent a flotilla of boats to Gaza. When the boats refused to turn aside, they were boarded by IDF commandos. The commandos boarded with paint guns but were attacked violently with knives, axes and blunt weapons  by armed Turkish activists on one of the boats who attempted to throw one of them overboard, causing the commandos to open fire with the pistols they had brought, killing nine.

Following the incident, it was revealed that many of the passengers on the boat where soldiers were attacked, the Mavi Marmara, were members of the Turkish terrorist organization IHH. The IHH members had planned their attack in advance, stockpiling metal clubs and knives.

Israel has formed a commission to investigate the incident and the IDF has its own internal inquiry. The UN expressed the intention of forming an investigative commission as it did on Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, whose findings were published as the Goldstone Report.

At least one organizer of the planned Lebanon flotilla has terrorism ties as well. Organizer Samar Al-Haj and her husband recently met with Hizbullah head Hassan Nasrallah and thanked him for his support while Al-Haj's husband was in prison for his role in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri.

Al-Haj has denied that Hizbullah is behind the planned flotilla, but said the flotilla was motivated by Nasrallah.