Activists aboard a flotilla to Gaza [file].
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israel will not let Gaza-bound boats reach the maritime zone adjacent to the Gaza Strip, Foreign Ministry director-general Dore Gold wrote to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday.
“This attempt to challenge Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza holds the potential for dangerous consequences,” Gold wrote in a letter. “The flotilla’s sole purpose is to create provocations that pose security risks, and constitute a breach of international law.”
While Israel has no interest in confrontation, Gold said it is “firmly determined to enforce the naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.”
After reminding Ban that a panel established by his office deemed Israel’s maritime blockade of Gaza to be in accordance with international law to prevent arms smuggling, Gold listed a number of incidents in which Israel intercepted arms-bearing ships bringing weaponry to terrorist organizations in the region.
“Israel has intercepted at sea large quantities of weaponry being smuggled to terrorist groups in the region via otherwise legitimate cargo vessels,” he wrote.
“My government has a fundamental duty to protect its citizens and prevent weapons from reaching the hands of terrorists in Gaza. Any vessel attempting to enter the maritime zone adjacent to the Gaza Strip will be considered in violation of the maritime blockade, and Israeli authorities will take all the necessary measures to enforce the naval blockade and prevent all vessels from approaching this area, in accordance with international law, ” he stated.
Furthermore, Gold asserted, there is no humanitarian need for the flotilla, since there are established mechanisms through which humanitarian aid can be delivered to Gaza. Nor, he wrote, “is there a right to breach a lawful blockade as a right of protest.”
Gold told Ban that “as these boats continue on their course toward Gaza, the need for your unequivocal condemnation of this provocation is as clear as ever.”