Ayalon: Don't let nationals take part in Gaza flotilla

Amid reports that IHH planning 2nd flotilla, deputy FM calls on foreign diplomats to keep their nationals from joining "dangerous provocation."

March 22, 2011 20:34
1 minute read.
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon

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 dangerous provocation.”

"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,” he said.

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.

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