Barak to Clinton: Stop Lebanese flotilla

Defense Minister: Attempt to sail for Gaza a "needless provocation."

ehud barak 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
ehud barak 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Defense Minister Ehud Barak urged US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and US National Security Adviser General James Jones to prevent a Lebanese vessel planning to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza from setting sail, in a telephone conversation on Saturday.
Barak said in the conversation that an attempt to sail directly for Gaza would be a "needless provocation," as humanitarian aid would be allowed to enter the territory after undergoing a security check at Ashdod Port.
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On Friday,  Barak urged the Lebanese government to take responsibility for preventing the flotilla being organized by female activists.
On Saturday, Army Radio reported that the sailing of the Mariam had been postponed after Cyprus refused to allow the vessel to pass through their waters. The organizers issued a request to Greek authorities in an attempt to circumvent the restrictions.
Barak announced that Israel will allow the flotilla to anchor in either Ashdod or Egypt but if the organizers insist on trying to reach Gaza then Israel will be forced to stop it.
"This act is meant to assist a terror group that wants nothing but to hurt and murder Israeli citizens," said Barak.
Barak reiterated that Israel is willing to allow humanitarian aid to enter Gaza in accordance with international rules and guidelines.
Following Barak's statements Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman instructed Israeli representatives at the UN to submit a complaint to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the UN Security Council over the flotilla being organized by female activists which is due to leave Lebanon for Gaza on Sunday.
According to a Foreign Ministry statement Israel is working with other states in order to prevent the "unnecessarily provocative" flotilla from leaving Lebanon.
"Every state in the region, including those that do not have diplomatic relations with Israel, understands that a flotilla like this will cause damage to the entire area," Lieberman said.
UN Ambassador Gabriela Shalev followed Lieberman's instructions and sent letters to the secretary-general and Security Council saying that Israel reserves the right under international law "to use all necessary means" to prevent the ship from violating the naval blockade.