As Israel prepares for the arrival of the “Freedom Flotilla 2”, once again led by the anti-Israeli Turkish organization IHH, there are reports that Israel is considering letting the boats go through to Gaza, under certain conditions, deflating the pr balloon.
Channel 2 News reported that a discussion was being held over the option to allow the flotilla through to Gaza, provided the boats pass a security check by a third country to make sure they are not carrying weapons.
Despite these reports, the Turkish newspaper Hürriyet reported that Israel’s ambassador to Turkey, Gabby Levy, has contacted the Turkish government and asked it to prevent the flotilla.
The plans for the second flotilla were recently announced by IHH director Bulent Yaldrim, who said that this year’s flotilla will be even bigger than last year’s.
The convoy was scheduled to take place around the anniversary of last year’s flotilla, near the end of May, but Yaldrim said it will probably happen only around late June, partly because he is hoping to purchase an airplane to take part in the anti-Israel convoy campaign.
Last year’s convoy was said to be intended to break Israel’s naval blockade on Gaza and deliver humanitarian supplies. However, no humanitarian aid had been found aboard the Mavi Marmara. Instead, terrorists armed with clubs attacked IDF soldiers who boarded the ship after its captain refused to heed calls to turn it around.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry has been taking measures to stop this year’s flotilla and has been asking foreign governments, including Spain, Britain, Ireland and Sweden, to publish travel advisories warning their citizens against sailing to Gaza. Britain and Ireland have in fact done so.
An unconfirmed report said that Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman asked for German assistance in stopping this year’s flotilla.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu also joined the efforts to stop the flotilla, during an address earlier this week to European Union ambassadors in Jerusalem.
“We are aware that there is an attempted provocation in late May, possibly early June of a another so-called flotilla, not a peace flotilla but a deliberate provocation to seek to ignite this part of the Middle East,” said Netanyahu. “I think it’s in our common interest, and I think it’s something that you should transmit to your governments, that this flotilla must be stopped.”
In the wake of the reports that Israel might allow the flotilla to enter Gaza under certain conditions, MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) criticized Netanyahu, saying: “Netanyahu is collapsing the State of Israel, is giving a prize to terrorists and is feeding their appetite to destroy Israel. Only an order to sink the ships will stop the deterioration of Israel’s political status.”