Organizer of flotilla: "thieving enemy" won't use arms against women.
By HERB KEINON, TOVAH LAZAROFF
Women are “the new secret weapon” in use against the “thieving enemy," said Samar Alhaj, the woman leading the Lebanese boat that is scheduled to try to break the naval blockade on Gaza in an interview with a regional Israeli Arabic- language radio station in Nazareth. The Israeli government has linked the boat to Hizbullah ”Asked on Radio A-Shams by Zohair Bahloul why the ship, Mariam, would only be carrying women, she said, “We are women in order not to give the thieving enemy an excuse to use arms against the ship.” She said the ship would be carrying cancer medication for children, and women suffering from breast cancer and cancer of the uterus due to “chemical bombs” dropped on Gaza by Israel.RELATED:'Flotilla activists' credit cards used'Israel to ease Gaza restrictionsAlhaj is the wife of an officer in the Lebanese security service who was jailed for four years for alleged involvement in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Alhaj and her husband met with Hizbullah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah on May 22.Speaking of Israel, she said, “the entity that was not defeated will be defeated by women that will come on the boat. Our weapon is cancer medication.We don’t have scud missiles or any other missiles, and you will see what they will do to us.”Alhaj said that the boat will have some 50 women, “more Christians than Muslims,” and will be coming from Lebanon, the US, France, Britain, Japan, Kuwait and Egypt.AdvertisementBahloul, who said it was a great honor to talk to such an “impressive woman,” ended the interview by saying “Allah should watch over you and grant you success.”Meanwhile, Yasser Kashlak, a Syrian businessman of Palestinian descent who heads the “Free Palestine Organization” and is funding this boat, as well as another that is to carry journalists and parliamentarians, said over the weekend on Hizbullah’s al-Manar television station that he was more and more optimistic that one day these same boats would take “Europe’s refuse [the Jews] that came to my homeland back to their homelands.“Gilad Schalit should go back to Paris and those murderers go back to Poland, and after that we will chase them until the ends of the earth to bring them to justice for their acts of slaughter from Deir Yassin until today.” Kashlak, a fervent Hizbullah supporter, called Israel a “rabid dog sent to the region to frighten the Arabs. He said he had a message for Israelis: ‘Get on the ships we are sending you and go back to your lands. Don’t let the moderate Arab leaders delude you, [you] cannot make peace with us. Our children will return to Palestine, you have no reason for coexistence. Even if our leaders will sign a peace agreement, we will not sign.’” He said the boat carrying journalists and parliamentarians will carry 12 former American diplomats as well..Israel will use all means necessary to stop the boatsIsrael, meanwhile, has threatened to use all means necessary to stop the boats from Lebanon from breaking Gaza’s naval blockade as its diplomats appealed to the international community to prevent the ships from setting sail.On Friday Israel’s ambassador to the UN Gabriela Shalev sent a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon in which she said Israel has a right to use “all necessary means” to stop these vessels.“Israel calls upon the international community to exercise its influence in order to prevent these boats from departing and to discourage their nations from taking part in such action,” she wrote.These vessels could escalate tensions and affect peace and security in the region, she said.Given the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, which controls Gaza, the declared intentions of the ships to break the blockade, and their departure from Lebanon which “remains in a state of hostility with Israel,” she said, “Israel reserves its right under international law to use all necessary means to prevent these ships from violating the existing naval blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip.”Shalev said the true intentions of the organizers of the flotilla from Lebanon remain “dubious,” noting that they have been quoted in the media saying they wish to be shahids or martyrs. She also cited “a possible link” between the organizers and “the terrorist group Hizbullah” based in Lebanon and said “Israel cannot exclude the possibility that terrorists or arms will be smuggled on board the ships in question.“In view of these circumstances, Israel calls upon the government of Lebanon to demonstrate responsibility and to prevent these boats from departing to the Gaza Strip,” she said.Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told The Jerusalem Post on Saturday that ambassadors had been asked to send a very clear message to the Foreign Ministries in their host countries that since the Lebanese flotilla was coming from an enemy country, they would be treated as if they were hostile.On Wednesday Foreign Ministry Director-General Yossi Gal convened a meeting with international ambassadors stationed here and gave them that same message.Ayalon: Next flotilla will unveil the true nature of such initiativesOn Thursday Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon told the French Foreign Affairs Committee that the flotilla emanating from Lebanon or Iran will unveil the true nature of such initiatives.“If there was a mask of humanitarianism on previous flotillas, the mask has been removed completely from these boats, which are carrying representatives of Hizbullah and Iran,” Ayalon said.Israel closed Gaza’s land crossings to all but humanitarian goods and imposed a naval blockade on the area in 2007 after Hamas violently overran Gaza. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had rejected calls to lift the naval blockade, insisting it prevents missile attacks on Israel. But under intense international pressure following the flotilla raid, which resulted in the deaths of eight Turkish activists and a Turkish-American, the security cabinet on Thursday announced it would take a number of measures to increase the flow of goods by land into Gaza.It has said it will allow all foods and some desperately needed construction materials into Gaza. The security cabinet is expected to meet again this week to discuss ways to execute Thursday’s decision.The UN chief said he is “encouraged” that Israel is reviewing its Gaza policy and recently decided to allow more goods into the Palestinian territory.“Nevertheless, much more is required to really meet the needs of the people,” Ban said. “I continue to call for a fundamental change in the policies that apply to Gaza.”The announcement, however, did little to quell the global outcry over the deadly raid. Israel maintains its soldiers acted in self-defense.Ban told reporters that he has been trying to arrange the “prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation conforming to international standards” that the UN Security Council called on June 1.He said Israel’s own investigation into the flotilla raid – a public commission with two international observers – “is important” but won’t have “international credibility,” which is why he is continuing to urge the Israeli government to agree to an international panel under a third party “in which both Turkey and Israel would actively participate.” Pressed on why he didn’t just go ahead and appoint an international commission, the secretary- general explained that without Israel’s “full cooperation it would be extremely difficult to have a full and credible investigation, and that is why even if it may take time, I’m discussing this matter with the Israeli government.”AP contributed to this report.•
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