Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu convened his inner cabinet on Wednesday for a meeting devoted to preparing for the expected launch of another Gaza-bound flotilla, this one expected to be bigger than last year's that ended with nine people killed aboard the Mavi Marmara.
Following the meeting of the forum known as the septet, the Prime Minister's Office released a statement saying that Netanyahu instructed the Foreign Ministry to continue its diplomatic efforts to thwart the flotilla, and also directed the IDF and the security forces to prepare the necessary plans to implement the naval blockade on the Gaza Strip.
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According to this statement, that blockade is intended to "prevent arms
smuggling to terrorist elements in Gaza and prevent attacks on Israeli
communities and residents."
The ministers, according to government sources, were briefed by the
relevant security bodies regarding preparations for the flotilla.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was quoted Monday as urging
Israel "not to repeat the same mistake" it made last year, and adding
that "it is Israel's responsibility not to implement [a blockade]
The flotilla, originally expected to set sail around the time of the first anniversary of the Mavi Marmara
incident on May 31, is now not expected to leave until after the
Turkish elections on June 12. Sources in Jerusalem said the delay was
because the organizers of the flotilla, IHH, do not want to complicate
matters between Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the
country's centrist voters.
Also on Wednesday, the UN panel probing the Mavi Marmara
episode was scheduled to meet behind closed doors with Israel's
delegation to the UN in New York to hear Jerusalem's version of that
incident. On Tuesday they heard from the Turkish delegation.
The panel, headed by Former New Zealand Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer,
and including former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, as well as
Israeli and Turkish representatives Joseph Ciechanover and Ozden
Sanberk, is expected to release its report in mid May.