As the world presses Israel to heed calls for an international probe into its deadly Flotilla attack, former British Premier Tony Blair echoes Tel Aviv’s alleged security concerns.
Having met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Tuesday, Blair called for a "full and impartial" investigation into the attack, saying "there may be some sort of international element that could be part of it."
Blair, however, assured that he wholeheartedly supports what he called Israel’s right to self-defense and backed Israel’s movement restrictions on the Gaza Strip.
"There’s no question that there are rockets fired from Gaza and that there are people in Gaza who want to kill innocent Israelis," the Israeli daily Haaretz quoted him as saying on its website.
"When it comes to security, I’m 100 percent on Israel’s side. Israel has the right to inspect what goes into Gaza."
Blair, the special envoy of the Quartet of Middle East peace mediators, was echoing Netanyahu’s defense for the May 31 commando attack on a Gaza-bound aid convoy that killed 20 activists onboard the fleet and left more than 40 injured.
The Israeli prime minister who had earlier supported the onslaught as "an act of self-defense," praised the Israeli army on Tuesday for their performance during the naval operation.
"You have proved that there’s no limit to your skill, and I salute you," Netanyahu told army forces. Among the elite forces were navy commandos from Shayetet 13, the unit involved in last week’s fatal attack.
Israel has been defying the global community’s call for an international probe and insists to lead its own controlled examination of the carnage of Gaza-bound activists.
Tel Aviv’s version of the probe would only see whether the attack was legal, according to Israeli Minister without portfolio Benny Begin.