Thousands of people chanted slogans and waved banners against Israel in Istanbul
on Thursday in a rally marking the two year anniversary of the IDF raid of a
Gaza-bound flotilla, in which nine Turkish pro-Palestinian activists were
killed, AFP reported.
The IHH, widely considered a terrorist organization
by a number of bodies, the Israeli government among them, and one of the main
groups behind the Gaza flotilla, organized the rally held in Istanbul’s Taksim
Demonstrators called for those responsible for the raid to be
held accountable, just days after a Turkish court accepted indictments against
four former senior Israeli commanders, with prosecutors calling for them to
receive life sentences for their part in the raid of the Mavi Marmara
Among those listed in the indictment were former Military
Intelligence head Maj.- Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin and former IDF chief of staff
Lt.- Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi.
In the aftermath of the indictments,
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that he wanted to send a “very
clear” message to IDF soldiers and officers that “the State of Israel will
always stand at your side, everywhere and everyplace. You defended us, we will
defend you. That is an important rule.”
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman
told visiting German President Joachim Gauck on Tuesday that for the last number
of years, Israel has conducted itself with “maximum restraint” in the face of
Turkish provocations, a policy he said dated back to Turkish Prime Minister
Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s berating President Shimon Peres at a conference in Davos
soon after Operation Cast Lead in 2009.
“But restraint does not mean that
Israel will allow the intimidation of its officers and soldiers acting under the
highest ethical standards, with full justification under international law, as
determined by the UN’s Palmer Commission report on the Mavi Marmara,” he
Liberman said he hoped European countries would not cooperate with
Turkey regarding the “absurd charges” against the former IDF officers.
also said he expected Europe to call Turkey to order and not go along with the
provocations of a NATO member state that has “lost its direction and acts
contrary to accepted international rules.”
The foreign minister said
Israel would continue to act responsibly and not be dragged into
counter-provocations against Erdogan “out of concern for regional peace and
Herb Keinon contributed to this report.