Ron Prosor 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
to the United Nations Ron Prosor said it appears the scope of the planned Gaza
flotilla is shrinking and that he hopes it will not sail at all, in an
interview with Israel Radio Thursday morning.
Prosor added that
there is a consensus among international leaders against the flotilla.
The ambassador said he hopes that additional key countries will urge
their citizens not to participate in the flotilla. The United States and
Greece in recent days issued warnings to their citizens against
attempting to break Israel's naval blockade on the Strip.
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On Wednesday, Prosor sent a letter to the Security Council
and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, to express concern over
the impending Gaza flotilla, calling it a provocation that “holds the
potential for dangerous consequences.”
Pointing out that there
are established channels through which humanitarian assistance can reach
the Gaza Strip, including through Israel, Prosor wrote that the
flotilla is “clearly designed only to serve an extremist political
Prosor also emphasized that many groups participating in
this flotilla – such as the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza,
the Free Gaza Movement, and the International Solidarity Movement –
“maintain ties with extremist and terrorist organizations, including
“Some flotilla organizers have made comments to the media
indicating their plans to employ a range of tactics to resist the
enforcement of the naval blockade by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF),”
Prosor wrote. “These tactics, which might include physical confrontation
with the IDF, could spark unnecessary violence resulting in harm to
persons and property.”
Prosor noted that both Ban and British Prime Minister David Cameron have spoken out against such flotillas in the past year.
“These kinds of actions are particularly troubling in light of the present turmoil in the Middle East,” Prosor wrote.
international community must send an unambiguous message to the
organizers of these provocations that such initiatives only serve to
raise tensions in our region,” Prosor continued, saying Israel was
“firmly determined to enforce the naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.”
Ambassador to the US Michael Oren on Wednesday
defended the blockade of Gaza as a “matter of life and death,” and said
that it fully comports with international law.
Oren said that Israel is pleased
that the Turkish government is opposing the expedition and that Turkish
group IHH has withdrawn its participation in the flotilla, which is set
to mark the anniversary of the attempt last year to breach the blockade
that left nine activists aboard IHH’s ship dead after a confrontation
with the Israel Navy.
recalled its ambassador following last year’s incident and demanded an
apology for actions the IDF considered as self-defense, and Oren
indicated that Jerusalem was in discussions with Ankara to find language
that would satisfy both governments’ requirements so that the rift
could be mended.
Oren said that the blockade was necessary to
prevent rockets from reaching Gaza and then threatening Israel, and that
under international maritime law, all ships must be prevented from
reaching shore under a legal blockade, so no exception could be made for
the anticipated flotilla.
Oren also rejected the notion that
Israel prefers to see Bashar Assad stay as president rather than face a
Syria taken over by unknown elements.
That idea is “categorically untrue,” he stressed, saying that Israel couldn’t imagine anyone “more devilish” than Assad.
also spoke of the danger posed by Iran, pointing out that the technical
difficulties its nuclear program suffered last year had been overcome
and that the country continues to enrich uranium at a rapid rate.
is pressing for additional sanctions on the Islamic Republic, and
expects the US to act on them in the coming days, but Oren said it was
important to state that “all options are on the table” and make sure
that declaration has teeth.
“We’ve seen that a credible military
threat can prove effective in dissuading Middle East dictators and
autocracies from developing nuclear weapons,” he said.
Wednesday, The United States updated a travel warning urging Americans
to refrain from traveling to the Gaza Strip by sea.
State Department travel warning for Israel, the West Bank and Gaza,
said Americans could face arrest, prosecution, and deportation by
Israel. "The Government of Israel has announced its intention to seek
10-year travel bans to Israel for anyone participating in an attempt to
enter Gaza by sea," the notice said.JPost.com staff and Reuters contributed to this report