It is clear that the intention of those people from the beginning was to spill blood and not to bring any humanitarian aid to Gaza.
Interview on Israel TV Channel 1, Mabat News, 31 May 2010
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Liberman: First of all, I want to express my admiration for the IDF soldiers, who showed responsibility, restraint, and great courage in impossible conditions, under the brutal attack of a bunch of anarchists, hooligans and terror-supporters.
Second, I would like to express sorrow for the lost of human life.
Israel is a sovereign state and cannot agree to an attack on its sovereignty. Every state has the right to check every ship that enters its territory, or intends to enter its territory. I have heard a lot of criticism for the fact that the arrest took place in international waters. I would like to remind everyone that also the Karine-A [a ship loaded with Iranian arms destined for the Palestinian Authority, 2002] was stopped in international waters. As soon as a ship’s intentions are clear, and it is not willing to listen to warnings – and there were many warnings before the IDF soldiers boarded the ship – I think we acted in accordance with accepted international law. What is clear is that, from the beginning, the intention of those people – supporters of terrorism and not fighters for human rights – was to spill blood and not [to bring] any humanitarian aid to Gaza.
We have already said a number of times that there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. We transfer tons of supplies every day. Any country that wished to transfer humanitarian aid behaved in the accepted way, sent the cargo first to Ashdod, where it was inspected, and from there it was transferred to the Gaza Strip. This is also what was proposed in the present case. We conducted feverish contacts for many days with the Turkish government, with various bodies, through official and unofficial channels. All of our attempts to reach some sort of agreement were rejected. Just as, incidentally, those same human rights activists refused to appeal to the heads of Hamas to allow representatives from the Red Cross to visit the captive soldier Gilad Shalit. From this it is clear that their intentions were conflict and bloodshed.
There were six ships in the flotilla. On five of the ships, the people got off without a scratch. Only on one Turkish ship, the people prepared an ambush; they were armed with clubs and rods, knives. IDF soldiers were seriously injured – head injuries, two soldiers with gunshot wounds; an officer was stabbed seriously with a knife. All this proves that we are dealing with a gang of terror-supporters – actually terrorists – who simply want to promote terrorism, cooperate with terrorism, and their whole intention was to attack our sovereignty and to spill blood. We will not agree to that.
I spoke during the day with many of my colleagues, foreign ministers – with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Baroness Catherine Ashton, with the foreign ministers of Germany, Greece, Cypress, Bulgaria and others. I reiterated our position very clearly and I also said that we expect a balanced, responsible reaction and not a reaction which is actually a surrender to extremists, a surrender to terror, to the same anarchist groups that incite controversy and war, support Hamas and other terrorist organizations throughout the world.