Reactions to the Israeli Attack on Freedom Flotilla

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

Israel today stormed a flotilla of ships carrying aid to Gaza, killing up to 20 activists and injuring dozens. The ships, several of them Turkish, were carrying medical equipment and other aid on a mission to highlight the three-year-old Israeli blockade of the Palestinian territory. The attack took place 40 miles out to sea, in international waters.

The following are selected statements made in response to the Israeli attack on the civilian ships:

Greta Berlin, Free Gaza Movement Spokesperson: “It’s disgusting that they have come on board and attacked civilians. We are civilians. How could the Israeli military attack civilians like this? Do they think that because they can attack Palestinians indiscriminately they can attack anyone?” (BBC)

Navi Pillay, The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights: "I am shocked by reports that humanitarian aid was met with violence early this morning, reportedly causing death and injury as the boat convoy approached the Gaza coast .. the [Gaza] blockade keeps undermining human rights on a daily basis .. The current situation falls far short of what is necessary for the population to lead normal and dignified lives." (Press TV)

Amr Moussa, Arab League Secretary-General: “The Arab League strongly condemns this terrorist act.” (BBC)

Ismail Haniyeh, democratically-elected Prime Minister of Palestine: "The Palestinian government honors the convoy’s effort to break the siege. We consider all of the killed as Palestinian martyrs, martyrs of the siege on Gaza." (Press TV)

Ayman Mohyeldin, Al Jazeera’s reporter in Jerusalem: "All the images being shown from the activists on board those ships show clearly that they were civilians and peaceful in nature, with medical supplies on board. So it will surprise many in the international community to learn what could have possibly led to this type of confrontation." (Aljazeera)

Turkish Foreign Ministry: "(The interception on the convoy) is unacceptable … Israel will have to endure the consequences of this behavior." (Agencies and Aljazeera)

Mark Regev, Israeli Prime Minister’s Spokesperson: “Though our naval servicemen were instructed to exercise maximum restraint, they were attacked. They were attacked with knives, with iron clubs, and also with live fire. We have unfortunately 10 servicemen injured, one of them very, very seriously. The violence was initiated unfortunately by these activists, and this is regrettable.” (BBC)

Senior UN Officials Report Serry and Filippo Grandi: “We are shocked by reports of killings and injuries of people on board boats carrying supplies for Gaza, apparently in international waters. We condemn the violence and call for it to stop. The situation is still ongoing and we are awaiting confirmation of what has happened. We wish to make clear that such tragedies are entirely avoidable if Israel heeds the repeated calls of the international community to end its counterproductive and unacceptable blockade of Gaza.” (BBC)

Ramzy Baroud, Palestinian-US journalist and author of My Father was a Freedom Fighter, Gaza’s Untold Story: “What Israel has done tonight is most barbaric. It’s an unmitigated crime against humanity and no one with a living conscious and a shred of humanity can stand idle as a sophisticated army attacks and slaughters international peace activists carrying medicine and toys while on their way to supporting a besieged nation. However, the murder of those activists, and the wounding and the arrest of hundreds will forever cement the ties between Palestine and international peace and justice forces the world over. Starting tonight, this conflict is no longer Israel vs. Palestine, but a criminal state vs. humanity.” (PalestineChronicle.com)

Uri Avnery, Israeli journalist: “This night a crime was perpetrated in the middle of the sea, by order of the government of Israel and the IDF Command A warlike attack against aid ships and deadly shooting at peace and humanitarian aid activists It is a crazy thing that only a government that crossed all red lines can do.” (Gush Shalom)

Mahmoud Abbas, acting Palestinian President: "What Israel has committed on board the Freedom Flotilla was a massacre." (Wafa news agency)

A spokesperson for Catherine Ashton, EU foreign policy chief: the official "expresses her deep regret at the news of loss of life and violence and extends her sympathies to families of the dead and wounded. On behalf of the European Union she demands a full inquiry about the circumstances in which this happened. … She calls for an immediate, sustained and unconditional opening of the crossing for the flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods and persons to and from Gaza." (Associated Press)

Daniel Ayalon, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister: “The armada of hate and violence in support of [the] Hamas terror organisation was a premeditated and outrageous provocation. The organisers are well known for their ties with global jihad, al-Qaeda and Hamas. They have a history of arms smuggling and deadly terror.” (BBC)

Sami Abu Zuhri, Hamas’s Spokesman: “We in Hamas consider the Israeli attack on the freedom flotilla as a great crime and a huge violation of international law. In spite of the great harm suffered by the people who joined this flotilla, we consider that their message has been delivered. Thanks to these heroes from other countries who showed their solidarity with Gaza, the Israeli siege is now an international issue and we consider that the occupiers, through this crime, are the ones under siege now.” (BBC)

Bernard Kouchner, French Foreign Minister: “I am profoundly shocked by the tragic consequences of the Israeli military operation against the peace flotilla for Gaza. Nothing can justify the use of violence such as this, which we condemn. The circumstances of this drama must be fully brought to light and we wish for a thorough inquiry to be put in place without delay.” (BBC)

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of Iran: “The inhuman action of the Zionist regime against the Palestinian people and preventing the humanitarian aid from reaching Gazans does not show this regime’s strength, but is a sign of its weakness, and all this brings this sinister and fake regime closer than ever to its end.” (BBC)

Turkish protesters: "Down with Zionist, Israeli imperialism." (The Guardian)

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