Israel will not repeat flotilla attack

PressTV | Sun May 29, 2011 2:13PM


Turkish foreign minister says Israel has learned many lessons from last year’s attack on the Gaza-bound aid convoy and will not repeat the same mistake when a new flotilla sets sail for the Palestinian coastal sliver.

In the remarks broadcast on the private Ulke TV on Thursday night, Ahmet Davutoglu — the Turkish foreign minister — said that the Ankara government hopes that the attack by Israeli commandos on the Turkish Mavi Marmara aid ship would not repeat, Anatolia news agency reported on Sunday.

The Israeli military attacked the Freedom Flotilla in international waters of the Mediterranean Sea on May 31, 2010, killing nine Turkish nationals aboard the Turkish-flagged MV Mavi Marmara and injuring about 50 others who were part of the team on the six-ship convoy.

Israel also arrested and later released nearly 700 activists from 42 countries that were onboard the ships of the Freedom Flotilla, which was attempting to break the siege of Gaza to deliver 10,000 tons of humanitarian relief aid to the long-suffering people of the territory.

“There are differences between last year’s situation and this year’s situation. Hamas and Fatah have reached a compromise and the Palestinian factions have united. Moreover, the international community has maintained a tough stance against Israel following the attack on the Mavi Marmara,” Davutoglu stressed.

The Turkish foreign minister also noted that “Israel has no option but to recognize the Palestinian state and lift the blockade on the Gaza Strip if it does not want to see new convoys.”

Israel — with the help of former Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak — laid an economic siege on Gaza in June 2007, after Hamas took control of the strip. The blockade has had a disastrous impact on the humanitarian and economic situation in the Gaza Strip.

Some 1.5 million people are being denied their basic rights, including the freedom of movement, and the rights to appropriate living conditions, work, health and education. Poverty and unemployment rates stand at approximately 80 percent and 60 percent, respectively, in the Gaza Strip.

Egypt, however, opened the Rafah border crossing — Gaza’s only border that bypasses Israel– on Saturday. Cairo says the Rafah crossing will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. local time every day except Fridays and holidays.

MP/PKH/MMN

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