Israeli action attracts condemnation / News / The Foreigner

Israeli action attracts condemnation. The Israeli Navy's military action against the Turkish-registered passenger ship “Mavi Marmara”, in which at least nine people were killed and dozens wounded, has been condemned worldwide. In Norway, reactions have been ones of almost united condemnation. Israel’s ambassador in Oslo was called to the UD yesterday to explain what had happened, and was also informed as to Norway’s response. Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre asked UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to take immediate steps to ensure international law hadn’t been breached.

israel, beersheba, jail, mavi, marmara, defence, force, idf, ashdodnavy, action, detain, activists, gaza, blockade



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Israeli action attracts condemnation

Published on Tuesday, 1st June, 2010 at 22:42 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 2nd June 2010 at 08:44.

The Israeli Navy's military action against the Turkish-registered passenger ship “Mavi Marmara”, in which at least nine people were killed and dozens wounded, has been condemned worldwide.

Jonas Gahr Støre
Foreign Minister: "Norway is shocked that Israeli naval forces shot and killed civilians."Jonas Gahr Støre
Photo: Arbeiderpartiet


Shock

In Norway, reactions have been ones of almost united condemnation. Israel’s ambassador in Oslo was called to the UD yesterday to explain what had happened, and was also informed as to Norway’s response.

Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre asked UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to take immediate steps to ensure international law hadn’t been breached.

“Norway is shocked that Israeli naval forces shot and killed civilians during their boarding of a raft with humanitarian aid on its way to Gaza. I condemn this military use of force against civilians," he says in a press release.

He goes on to welcome today’s UN Security Council’s demand for an independent and open investigation.

The Council has demanded full consular access to those who were on board the flotilla currently being held by Israeli authorities, and demands their immediate release. Roughly 600 activists were detained.

Labour (Ap) Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg joins Støre’s calls for an investigation, expressing his outrage at Israel’s actions.

“Military attacks on civilian activists are completely unacceptable. We are shocked by the news that Israeli naval forces have attacked ships bound for Gaza with humanitarian aid.”

Jan Egeland, director of NUPI (the Norwegian Institute of Public Affairs), says he’s not surprised the Security Council has condemned the loss of civilians, and tells Stavanger Aftenblad the illegal Israeli blockade must be replaced by international leadership.

“This proves that Israel is capable of doing whatever, wherever, whenever. Israel now has an exceedingly militaristic and extreme government. What’s needed now is for the US and Europe to wake up and realise they have ten years of failed diplomacy behind them in the Middle East,” says Egeland.

Protests

There were demonstrations in several Norwegian cities yesterday, including Bergen, Trondheim, and Stavanger.

Demonstration near Israeli embassy Oslo (Ilus. photo)
Demonstration near Israeli embassy Oslo (Ilus. photo)
wilhelmja/Flickr
According to Aftenposten, angry demonstrators burned and spat on the Israeli flag during a supposedly peaceful protest outside Israel’s embassy in Oslo, chanting slogans calling for the embassy’s closure, and a boycott of the country.

“A democracy that doesn’t accept international law has no right to call itself a democracy, said Liberal Party leader (V) Trine Skei Grande.

Whilst secretary-general of Norwegian People’s Aid (Norsk Folkehjelp), Petter Eide, said he was both shocked and saddened by the news.

Bård Vegard Solhjell, deputy leader of the Socialist Left Party (SV), has called Israel’s actions “very brutal, and completely unacceptable”.

“It shows Israel will do anything to stop humanitarian aid reaching Gaza,” he says.

The Norwegian Federation of Trade Unions’ secretariat (LO) has also strongly distanced itself from what happened.

“Israel's use of force against the flotilla of people and goods on their way to Gaza is unacceptable. Israel has no right to board ships in international waters. What has happened is an abuse of the injured and killed civilians. This is yet another example of that the blockade must cease, and that conflict must be a political solution,” LO writes in a press statement.

The secretariat also calls for Israel’s ambassador in Norway to be sent home, and the Oil Fund (Government Pension Fund – Global) to pull out of investing in all Israeli companies.

Planned

Meanwhile, the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) claimed their forces, 10 of whom were injured in the raid on the Turkish passenger ship Mavi Marmara, met with pre-planned violence.

In press statement, the IDF writes: “During the boarding, the demonstrators onboard attacked the IDF naval personnel with live fire and light weaponry including knives and clubs. Additionally two of the weapons used were grabbed from an IDF soldier. The demonstrators had clearly prepared their weapons in advance for this specific purpose.”

IDF soldiers on the scene also report it seemed as though some of the participants were planning to lynch the forces, and one of the commandoes was thrown from the top to the lower deck.

"It was like a well-planned lynch,” one IDF officer tells the Jerusalem Post. “These people were anything but peace activists.”

At a subsequent press conference Defence Minister Ehud Barak said naval forces first tried riot-dispersal tactics, but ultimately had to respond with live fire for self-protection.

Weapons discovered on
Weapons discovered on "Mavi Marmara"
IDF Spokeperson/IDF
The IDF have released a video supporting their statements, as well as pictures showing a cache of weapons, including many knives, smoke bombs, firebombs, and gas masks, they say they found during a search of the ship. Some of these were used against the soldiers when they boarded the vessel.

Unclear

The IDF also says they did try to warn and request the Mavi Marmara and the rest of the flotilla proceed towards the sea port of Ashdod away from their blockade.

But things are still far from clear. According to NRK’s Middle East correspondent, Sidsel Wold, the Israeli PR machine is operating at full speed to tell its version before the other side has been heard.

Foreign journalists are deliberately being hampered in their efforts to access information, and are under military censorship.

“People are living in a different reality in Israel. There’s a strong feeling here the world has turned against them. Israel is fighting a deliberate battle to get their version out first by dominating the media picture for several days. We can’t access the boats, even though they’re in Israel. Today’s media is full of pictures and videos about the violent mob on the Mavi Marmara. We see activists attacking soldiers, and activists that are throwing one of the soldiers from the top deck below.”

Wold claims the Israelis hope that world opinion will support their version by the time any of the activists are allowed to speak out.

Ashdod rooftop view
Ashdod rooftop view
Kberlin/Wikimedia Commons
She also says many Israelis turned up to yesterday’s press conference at the port of Ashdod to voice their distrust of the international press.

“They shouted slogans at us and said we just lied, that we’re against Israel and are anti-Semites. The mob also attacked Arab journalists.”

Meanwhile, three new ships belonging to the “Free Gaza” organisation have set course for Gaza this evening to try and break through the blockade, reports TV2.

An IDF spokesperson tells the Jerusalem Post the navy will still use similar methods to try and stop the blockade being breached, despite yesterday’s unfortunate outcome.

“If more ships come, we will use the same tactic in the future,” says a top IDF source.



Published on Tuesday, 1st June, 2010 at 22:42 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 2nd June 2010 at 08:44.

This post has the following tags: israel, beersheba, jail, mavi, marmara, defence, force, idf, ashdodnavy, action, detain, activists, gaza, blockade.





  
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