(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the IDF and the Navy Monday for perfectly executing their mission to stop what he called the “hypocritical” Gaza flotilla.
“There’s no need for small ships like these to bring supplies, materials or humanitarian aid to Gaza,” the prime minister told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, pointing out that Israel allows 800 trucks into Gaza each day.
Since Operation Protective Edge last summer, Israel has transferred 1.6 million tons of humanitarian aid into Gaza, plus more than a million tons of cement and other building supplies.
“To transfer an amount like that, one would need half a million boats like the ones that headed for Gaza,” Netanyahu said. “There’s no need for that. If someone wants to send aid, he can use the land crossings, where we check the materials to prevent weapons from being transferred.”
The prime minister said he was pleased with the relatively low media profile the flotilla had, saying that it shows people understand it is based on lies. Netanyahu suggested that the activists on the flotilla “go to Syria, where 300,000 people were massacred and banished from their homes. Instead, they chose to sail to the only democracy in the Middle East, in which terrorists shoot at its citizens.”
“That is why the flotilla is infected with hypocrisy,” he explained.
Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett said the Palestinians keep on reminding Israel from flotilla to flotilla that they are “not a partner for peace but a partner for terrorism by land, air and sea.” Bennett said that “with every flotilla, the chances of the Palestinians getting a state sinks further.”
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid called the flotilla a “terror flotilla” that supports the worst kind of Islamist terrorists.
He said those on board were criminals and supporters of terrorism and the state needs to deal with them without hesitation.
“We could not allow it to pass because its purpose was to clear a path for future ships carrying arms for Hamas,” he said. “The fact that a member of the United Arab List was on the ship is an insult to this house and an attempt to harm the state. The ethics committee needs to take the strictest possible disciplinary steps.”
Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog called the flotilla a “cheap provocation” that had no connection to any humanitarian issue. He warned that Gaza is “a ticking time bomb” and that Israel needs to find a diplomatic solution to prevent another Gaza war this summer.
Joint List head Ayman Odeh said it was especially clear that Israel overreacted to the flotilla after no weapons were found aboard. He said there was no reason for a hostile takeover of the boat.
“The hill yielded a mouse,” Odeh said. “The problem remains that Gaza is disconnected from the world and needs help.”