“The Lebanese flotilla is a pure provocation”

On Friday (August 20), Defense Minister Ehud Barak described the latest flotilla expected to leave Lebanon in the coming days as “another unnecessary act of provocation”

Date: 22/08/2010, 9:11 AM     Author: Jonatan Urich

In discussing the latest flotilla attempting to break the Gaza Strip closure, Defense Minister Ehud Barak stated that the flotilla had no interest in providing humanitarian aid. In the past, Israel has addressed responsible bodies in the international community that have influence on Lebanon in order to prevent the provocative ship from leaving the country.

According to Barak, the “flotilla operation is intended to help a terror organization whose goal is to harm and kill Israeli civilians.” The Defense Minister has requested that the Lebanese government fulfill its responsibility to prevent the flotilla from leaving the port. “Should the flotilla insist on arriving despite the maritime closure that is in effect, Israel will be forced to stop the flotilla and escort it to the port of Ashdod”, said Ehud Barak.

The Defense Minister also noted that Israel allows the transfer of humanitarian aid to Palestinian civilians into the Gaza Strip through Egypt or Ashdod after a security inspection and according to the international rules and standards.

A week ago, at the graduation ceremony for the Naval Officer’s course, the Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi stressed that in coming months, IDF (Zahal) Navy soldiers will serve as a maritime shield stopping flotillas intending to travel to the Gaza Strip in the coming months. “We find ourselves in times where the Mediterranean Sea and its shores are more agitated than usual and we are experiencing de-legitimization attempts by our enemies”, he said.

“Thanks to them, we know that the next flotillas which will attempt to break our borders and the weapons ships which seek to arm terrorist organizations will be stopped by the maritime defensive shield of the State of Israel and its Navy”, Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi said.