French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)
Foreign Minister Alain Juppe on Wednesday called on organizers of the
flotilla to Gaza to cancel their plans to sail to the Strip. The
flotilla, Juppe said, "is a bad idea that is expected only to return and
spur anxiety and to cause confrontation," Army Radio reported.
events that took place last year showed that such initiatives [pose a]
danger for the outbreak of confrontation," he added. Nevertheless, "the
call for responsible behavior does not change our stance regarding the
blockade on Gaza and our demands for basic changes in Israel's
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The French foreign minister said, "It's essential that
Israel allow the quick transfer of aid to its recipients, and continue
policies easing the blockade until it is completely removed."
IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz took to the IDF's Twitter page on Wednesday to express his views on the upcoming flotilla."#flotilla
based on unsubstantiated reality," he tweeted, using the hashtag link
for flotilla tweets. "Press missing link btwn comf lifestyle in Gaza
& blockade use."
tweet was a continuation of comments he made on Tuesday, when he and
Defense Minister Ehud Barak criticized the motives of activists taking
part in the upcoming flotilla to Gaza, saying that the humanitarian
situation there is not as bad as activists portray, Army Radio reported.
with Gantz at an IDF ceremony for reservists on Tuesday, Barak called
the flotilla a "provocation," adding that "there is no humanitarian
crisis in Gaza. If [activists] are sensitive to human suffering, then
they need to turn their efforts to freeing [kidnapped soldier] Gilad
Schalit or at least allowing him visitors."
Gantz said that the flotilla was not even meant to bring Gazans
humanitarian aid, but rather to work towards the delegitmization of
The IDF chief said that activists were blowing the humanitarian crisis
in Gaza out of proportion, saying that Palestinians in the Gaza Strip do
not lack basic supplies. According to Gantz, Gazans are "importing
televisions and plasma screens, and exporting agricultural products to
the entire Arab world."
Gantz added that the IDF was well equipped and ready to deal with any
threat posed by flotilla activists. On Monday night, intelligence
sources said that some flotilla activists may be planning to attack IDF
soldiers with sulfur, or even attempt to kill some of Israel's troops.
Yaakov Katz and Herb Keinon contributed to this report.