” Turkey Issues Stark Warning To Israel Following Aid Convoy Attack
Turkey has warned Israel of “irreparable consequences” following the deaths of up to 19 people when Israeli commandos moved to prevent a flotilla of boats from carrying aid to Gaza.
The incident has been described by Turkey as ‘unacceptable’ while Israel says it is in a state of war with the Palestinian Hamas group and that it is within its rights to restrict all sea traffic entering or exiting the Gaza Strip. At 4.30pm (local time) Israeli commandos landed on a Turkish-registered ship in a six-vessel convoy, of which the Irish owned Rachel Corrie is part of, carrying aid for the Palestinian territory.
The flotilla began the journey from international waters off the coast of Cyprus yesterday and had been expected to reach Gaza, about 250 miles away, this afternoon. Reports from Turkish State media suggests that at least 10 people were killed and 50 injured, including one Irish citizen, during the pre-dawn raid.
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Speaking following the attack, the Israeli military said: “We did not attack any boat, we merely fulfil the Israeli government’s decision to prevent anyone from going into the Gaza strip without coordinating with Israel”.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry reacted: “[The interception on the convoy] is unacceptable … Israel will have to endure the consequences of this behavior”.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry has suggested that it will call on tourists in Turkey to return to Israel immediately.Meanwhile, the Head of Iran’s Parliament National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Alaeddin Boroujerdi has called for the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) to hold an urgent meeting.
eorge Gallaway, founder of the worldwide Viva Palestina movement, described Israel’s attack as ‘cold blooded murder’. He also called on Turkey to expel Israeli Ambassadors from the country.
He added: This was a murderous act of piracy conducted by the so-called state of Israel….It is one of the most dastardly attacks on humanitarian aid workers in recent times…This crime will not go unanswered.”
The Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs says it will be requesting the urgent attendance of Israeli Ambassador to Ireland, Dr Zion Envroy at an emergency meeting of the Committee arranged for later this week. The Palestinian Envoy to Ireland, Dr. Hikmat Ajjuri, will also be invited to attend.
The Committee will be seeking immediate answers from Dr Envroy regarding the flotilla attack. A number of Irish nationals are among the flotilla.
Committee Chairman, Dr Michael Woods TD said; “The Committee is extremely alarmed by the reports which are emerging this morning regarding events off Gaza’s coast. At the moment details are sketchy but we have decided to call Israel’s Ambassador to Ireland to an unscheduled meeting of the Committee later this week.
The purpose of the Ambassador’s attendance is to try to establish what exactly happened and to assess the proportionality of his Government’s actions. This affair is all the more relevant to the Committee, as a delegation of the Committee recently visited Gaza, and one of our members, Senator Mark Daly was denied access to one of the ships headed for Gaza last Saturday.
We hope the Ambassador will accept our request on this occasion as regrettably he has not always responded positively to the Committee’s invitations. I feel that for the sake of his Government’s credibility and integrity he must accept our appeal and attend our Committee.”
Irish Labour Party Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs Michael D. Higgins described the incident today as an “international outrage”.
“The use of commandos to board a ship was a pre-emptive action that cannot be justified by any aspect of international law. This incident requires a response of the Security Council of the United Nation. It draws attention yet again to the fact that the situation in Gaza is not simply a humanitarian crisis but constitutes an international political outrage that is being allowed to continue”, he commented.
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