PM tells IDF to plan for flotilla, diplomats to prevent it

Netanyahu meets with security cabinet, tells Foreign Ministry to continue efforts to stop IHH ships aiming to break Gaza blockade.

April 27, 2011 23:23
1 minute read.
Mavi Marmara

flotilla 311. (photo credit: Creative Commons)


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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu convened his inner cabinet on Wednesday for a meeting devoted to preparing for the expected launch of another Gaza-bound flotilla, this one expected to be bigger than last year's that ended with nine people killed aboard the Mavi Marmara.

Following the meeting of the forum known as the septet, the Prime Minister's Office released a statement saying that Netanyahu instructed the Foreign Ministry to continue its diplomatic efforts to thwart the flotilla, and also directed the IDF and the security forces to prepare the necessary plans to implement the naval blockade on the Gaza Strip.

'Fatah officials to board upcoming Gaza flotilla'
Turkey: Stopping Gaza flotilla 'not our concern'

According to this statement, that blockade is intended to "prevent arms smuggling to terrorist elements in Gaza and prevent attacks on Israeli communities and residents."

The ministers, according to government sources, were briefed by the relevant security bodies regarding preparations for the flotilla.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was quoted Monday as urging Israel "not to repeat the same mistake" it made last year, and adding that "it is Israel's responsibility not to implement [a blockade] against Gaza."

The flotilla, originally expected to set sail around the time of the first anniversary of the Mavi Marmara incident on May 31, is now not expected to leave until after the Turkish elections on June 12.  Sources in Jerusalem said the delay was because the organizers of the flotilla, IHH, do not want to complicate matters between Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the country's centrist voters.

Also on Wednesday, the UN panel probing the Mavi Marmara episode was scheduled to meet behind closed doors with Israel's delegation to the UN in New York to hear Jerusalem's version of that incident. On Tuesday they heard from the Turkish delegation.

The panel, headed by Former New Zealand Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer, and including former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, as well as Israeli and Turkish representatives Joseph Ciechanover and Ozden Sanberk, is expected to release its report in mid May.

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