Ayalon denies saying raid was mistake

No truth in 'Der Spiegel' report on flotilla, deputy FM asserts.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
June 8, 2010 16:24
1 minute read.
Danny Ayalon at Nativ Haasara

Danny Ayalon JPost interview 311. (photo credit: Benjamin Spier)

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon vigorously denied a report in the German newspaper Der Spiegel on Tuesday in which he was quoted as saying that the IDF's raid on the Gaza flotilla last week was a mistake.

The report said that Ayalon was beginning to realize that Israel had walked into a trap
set by the organizers of the flotilla. It suggested that German Prime Minister Angela
Merkel's criticism had made him reconsider the raid.

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"It played into Hamas's hands," he said in an interview at Tel Aviv's Dan Hotel, according
to the report. "Perhaps it was a mistake to storm the ships."

Ayalon was also quoted as saying that there were also "many people with good intentions"
on board the ships and that Israel would not block an investigation of the incidents
under international observation.

People close to Ayalon who were present at the interview said they did not remember him
saying that the raid was a mistake. His spokesman Ashley Perry said he heard Ayalon give dozens of interviews in the aftermath of the flotilla incident and that he never said
anything close to what Der Spiegel suggested.

"He was misunderstood, misquoted, or mistranslated," Perry said. "It is the firm view of
the deputy foreign minister that we were left with no choice but to take the action that we did. He fully supports the decision that was made to take the action that was taken to prevent the flotilla from reaching Gaza and opening a sea channel for arms smuggling and terror."


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