Israel files protest to UN over Malaysian ship

Malaysian vessel carrying Moldovan flag tried to break Gaza blockade; Malaysian-based Perdan Foundation was behind to incident.

May 19, 2011 05:12
2 minute read.
Malaysia's former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad

Malaysia's former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad_311. (photo credit: Reuters)


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Israel was expected to file a protest with the UN Security Council on Wednesday over a Malaysian ship flying a Moldovan flag that tried to run the sea blockade of the Gaza Strip Monday night, but was turned back by the navy.

The navy, according to Foreign Ministry officials, fired warning shots after the MV Finch – manned by seven Malaysians, a Canadian, two Indians and two Irish – entered Israel’s territorial waters.

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The ship, which was carrying plastic sewage pipes intended to be brought into Gaza overland, sailed instead to El Arish.

Ministry officials said this was the first such attempt to reach Gaza by sea since the Mavi Marmara last May.

The Malaysian-based Perdan Foundation, headed by former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, was behind the recent incident, officials said. The organization was also involved in last year’s attempt.

In 2003 Mohamad said the Jews “rule this world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them.”

This will be the third protest filed by Israel to the UN Security Council president this week, after ambassador to the UN Meron Reuben sent two letters of protest earlier in the week regarding the violent incidents along the border on Sunday when Lebanese and Syrian protesters tried to infiltrate Israel.

The Foreign Ministry, meanwhile, issued a sharply worded response to comments made by Michael Williams, the UN’s special envoy to Lebanon, who said about the incident on the Lebanese border that he was “shocked by the number of the deaths and the use of disproportionate, deadly force by the Israeli Defense Forces against apparently unarmed demonstrators, which I condemn.”

“I strongly reiterate the need for all sides to exercise maximum restraint, to prevent the recurrence of such violence and to strictly adhere to resolution 1701,” said Williams, referring to the UN resolution that ended the second Lebanon war in 2006.

The Foreign Ministry said Williams’ statements were “overhasty” and “aggravating.”

Williams, the statement said, “would have been better advised to wait for the results of investigations conducted by UNIFIL and the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations before jumping to conclusions and laying the blame on Israel.”

The statement said Williams was relying solely on Lebanese reports, and that demonstrators clearly intended to remove the border fence and penetrate Israeli territory.

“Their violent rioting, that forced the Lebanese army to respond by deterrent fire, proves this point. Mr. Williams’ unbalanced statement does not reflect realities on the ground and does not contribute to efforts to return to calm.”

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