Danny Ayalon 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Amid reports that the Turkish IHH organization is planning to send another
flotilla back to Gaza sometime in May to mark the one-year anniversary of the
Mavi Marmara incident, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon urged foreign
diplomats on Tuesday to prevent their nationals from taking part “in this
"The IHH has proven itself by its words and deeds
that it is a jihadist terrorist organization and should be proscribed by all
democracies,” Ayalon said to some 50 diplomats stationed here, whom he had
called to the Foreign Ministry.
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“It should be made illegal to fund,
associate with or support such a group, just as it is in Germany and elsewhere,”
Ayalon noted that while Israel had lifted restrictions on
civilian goods going in and coming out of Gaza, the seizure of some 50 tons of
weaponry aboard the Victoria
ship last week proved that the restrictions that
remained on Gaza’s crossing were necessary, and that any attempt to circumvent
them would be “seen as a provocation.”
“There is a very real likelihood
that the intent of the organizers is to provoke a violent confrontation, with
all that entails for regional stability, and it is incumbent on all of us not to
let these events occur,” he said.
Ayalon’s comments came as part of a
Foreign Ministry policy to take the likelihood of future flotillas seriously and
to embark on stopping them long before they set sail.
This is partly the
result of criticism, following the Mavi Marmara
incident, that the government
was too reactive and not proactive enough when it heard of plans to send the
flotilla to Gaza.
IHH members aboard the Mavi Marmara
last May attacked
IDF soldiers who boarded the boat to keep it from sailing to Gaza. Nine Turks
were killed in the incident.
Since that time, the Foreign Ministry has
appointed someone to monitor possible future flotillas and to coordinate the
government’s response with a variety of Israeli ministries and agencies.