Letter of complaint from Ambassador Shalev to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon regarding two ships that seek to sail from Lebanon to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip in violating of the existing naval closure.
"Such convoys are not helpful to resolving the basic economic problems of Gaza and needlessly carry the potential for escalation."

H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon
Secretary General
United Nations

Excellency,

I write to you to draw your attention to a developing matter of concern in the Middle East that could affect the peace and security of the region.

At the Security Council meeting on 21 July 2010, members of the Council and the wider international community expressed concerns about the phenomenon of unauthorized vessels that seek to violate the existing naval blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip. Under-Secretary-Genera for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe stated: "Such convoys are not helpful to resolving the basic economic problems of Gaza and needlessly carry the potential for escalation."

In defiance of these calls, it appears that two ships, Junia and Julia, plan to depart from Lebanon and sail to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. The stated intention of these vessels is to violate the existing naval blockade of Gaza.

Given the ongoing armed conflict between the Hamas terrorist organization and the State of Israel, compounded by the fact that these ships originate from Lebanon that remains in a state of hostility with Israel, Israel reserves its right under international law to use all necessary means to prevent these ships from violating the aforementioned naval blockade. Furthermore, it cannot be ruled out that these vessels carry weapons or individuals with provocative and confrontational intentions.

In addition, I wish to highlight that all goods that are not weapons or materiel for war-like purposes are now entering the Gaza Strip through appropriate mechanisms that ensure their delivery as well as their civilian nature. The organizers of the aforementioned boats are fully aware of these internationally recognized and unimpeded channels to deliver aid to the Gaza Strip. However, the organizers – similar to previous attempts by others – seek to incite a confrontation and raise tension in our region.

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. Such action will prevent any possible escalation. Israel further calls upon the international community to exercise its influence in order to prevent these boats from departing and to discourage their nationals from taking part in such action.

Finally, I wish to inform you that this identical letter has been sent to H.E. Mrs. U. Joy Ogwu, President of the United Nations Security Council.

Allow me, Excellency, to renew to you the assurances of my highest consideration.

Yours truly,
Gabriela Shalev
Ambassador
Permanent Representative