The Israeli prime minister has defended the deadly attack on the Gaza-bound Freedom Flotilla and says Israel will never apologize for the incident.
The Israeli military attacked the Freedom Flotilla in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea early on May 31, killing and wounding many on board the six ships, mostly Turkish nationals.
Israel also arrested nearly 700 activists from 42 countries on board the Freedom Flotilla, which was attempting to break the siege of Gaza in order to deliver 10,000 tons of humanitarian assistance to the long-suffering people of the territory.
Benjamin Netanyahu’s comments came as international condemnations and calls to lift the three-year blockade of Gaza started pouring in.
He said any other nation would have done the same thing and called those critical of Israel’s conduct hypocrites.
Netanyahu also stated that the blockade of Gaza would continue.
The activists released from Israeli detention said they were witness to the assault and many have relayed their account of what happened.
One of three detained Canadians said that the Israeli soldiers "actually" beat him and many others on the ship. "We were detained for an extensive period of time and were not allowed to go to the washrooms or anything like that, or sleep," he said. "It’s been a rough 24 to 48 hours, let’s put it that way."
The activists said the flotilla was fired on without warning even before the Israeli commandos boarded the ships. Their accounts sharply contradict those of Israel, which says its forces acted in self-defense.