Federation Condemns Attacks on Israel Defense Forces

Jun 01, 2010, 11:59 ET from The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles

Self-Defense by IDF Led to Violent Clash with Aid Flotilla

LOS ANGELES, June 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles condemns the unprovoked attacks on Israeli Defense Forces personnel this morning off Israel's coast.

"We regret the loss of human life as a result of this morning's incident and mourn for all of the victims," said Jay Sanderson, President of The Jewish Federation. "However, it is critical that our community and the world know the facts regarding the circumstances and not jump to the incorrect conclusion that Israel was the aggressor. IDF personnel were acting in self-defense and we fully support Israel's right to defend itself and its people."

Below is a quick summary of actions that took place leading up to the clash:

  • Israeli Defense Forces naval personnel intercepted six ships attempting to break its naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. The interceptions took place after numerous warnings from the Israeli Navy to redirect for security inspections.
  • On one of the ships, demonstrators onboard attacked IDF naval personnel with knives, crowbars and clubs. The demonstrators had clearly prepared weapons in advance for this specific purpose.
  • IDF forces apprehended two violent activists holding pistols. These militants apparently grabbed the pistols from IDF forces and opened fire on the soldiers.
  • Israeli naval forces deployed riot dispersal tactics and, when they determined their lives were in immediate danger, returned live fire.

"No country would allow illegal entry of any vessel into their waters without a security check," said Sanderson. "Meanwhile, it appears that the confrontation by the activists was premeditated based upon their weapons and by repeatedly ignoring orders of the Israeli Navy."

A number of IDF personnel are injured from gunfire, knives and crowbars. All of the injured, Israeli and non-Israeli, are being treated in Israel.

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SOURCE The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles