NEW YORK and BRUSSELS, June 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The World Jewish Congress (WJC) expresses sincere regret at the violence and loss of life during the attempt by Israeli forces on 31 May 2010 to take control of a ship that had broken Israel's legally sanctioned naval blockade in international waters heading for Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip on 27 May 2010. Israel had issued repeated warnings to prevent conflict. It had neither sought nor provoked such an outcome.
The WJC simultaneously deplores the rush to condemn Israel in the media and in much of the international community before all of the facts are known. It is known, however, that the organizers of the so-called "Freedom Flotilla" deliberately sought confrontation with Israel. "Peace activists" attacked Israeli soldiers with iron bars and other potentially lethal implements including axes, knives and handguns, thus initiating the violence.
It is also deplorable, therefore, that much of the international media continues to portray such violent activists as humanitarians. This was a lynch mob, and it is incumbent upon responsible observers to be clear in saying so.
One of the main sponsoring groups aboard the ship was Turkey's IHH International Relief Fund – an extremist group whose links to radical Islamist terror organizations is recognized by many western intelligence agencies including the CIA.
The WJC is also concerned that the broader context in which this operation took place has been largely absent from much of the media coverage. Gaza is ruled by Hamas – an Iranian armed, financed and directed terror organization, dedicated to the destruction of Israel. The flotilla was aimed at tightening Hamas control of Gaza under the pretext of providing humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza.
The State of Israel was acting within its internationally sanctioned legal right and moral responsibility to maintain a naval blockade to prevent weapons and other illicit materials from reaching Hamas.
Despite more than 12,000 rockets and mortars that have been fired at Israel since its unilateral withdrawal in 2005, Israel has passed thousands of tons of humanitarian supplies to Gaza. Among the goods delivered to civilians in Gaza the week of May 23rd alone included 810,209 liters of heavy-duty diesel fuel; 21 truckloads of milk powder and baby food; 897 tons of cooking gas; 66 truckloads of fruits and vegetables; 51 truckloads of wheat; 27 truckloads of meat, chicken and fish products; 40 truckloads of dairy products; 117 truckloads of animal feed; 36 truckloads of hygiene products; 38 trucks of clothing; 22 trucks of sugar and 4 trucks of medicine and medical equipment. This was a typical week.
In addition to that, 781 medical patients and accompanying individuals from the Gaza Strip crossed into Israel to receive treatment in various hospitals.
The WJC deplores the opportunistic use of this situation by the Palestinian Authority and their supporters to mount yet another attack on Israel's legitimacy. Israel is already conducting an investigation into what transpired.
Responsible observers should refrain from making inflammatory statements and should wait until that investigation is completed.
SOURCE World Jewish Congress