Netanyahu at Cabinet meeting.
Netanyahu at Cabinet meeting. Israel news photo: Flash 90


Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday phoned IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz to extend his congradulations to members of Israel's Shayatet-13 and other units who peacefully brought the Gaza-bound French yacht Dignite-al-Karama into the port of Ashdod.

Netanyahu noted the successful mission of the Shayetet -13 and other forces who were able to take over the ship without violence and without causing any casualties.

A statement from the Prime Minister's Office said, "Israel will continue to enforce the naval blockade [on Gaza] to prevent the smuggling of weapons and missiles."

Shortly before the boarding action, Gantz ordered the navy to take control of the yacht as he was overseeing the operation the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv (kirya).

Naval commandoes did not encounter any resistance during the boarding action, which was conducted after the ship's captain refused to cooperate with the IDF's demand to divert its course to the Ashdod Port, the IDF Spokesperson said in a statement.

The yacht was part of the Free Gaza Movement’s flotilla that was canceled earlier this month after Greece refused to allow the ships to leave its ports for Gaza.

Hamas on Tuesday condemned the seizure of the French ship, with spokesman Ismail Rudwan describing it as "piracy, a war crime and a violation of the principles of human rights."

Drafts of the now-delayed Palmer Report on the 2010 Gaza flotilla concluded Israel's embargo is legal under international maritime law.