Fri, June 04, 2010 | DebkaFiles
Turkish ambassador to Washington Namik Tan threatened his government would break relations with Israel unless it apologizes for the commando raid on its flotilla for Gaza. Israel must also accept an independent probe and end its Gaza blockade.
In Turkey, prime minster Recep Erdogan said Friday, June 4: “I do not think Hamas is a terrorist organization. They are Palestinians in resistance, fighting for their own land,” whereas Israelis were no better than Somali pirates.
This was Turkey’s response to the Netanyahu government’s newfound willingness to soften its determination to maintain Israel’s sea and land blockade against the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip – even though the great majority of Israelis believe the blockade is vital to national security and acclaim the naval commandos’ raid on the Turkish-led flotilla as heroic.
Debkafile’s military and political sources report that in public, the prime minister and defense and foreign ministers avow their resolve to keep Gaza sealed under tight Israeli control to prevent Iranian arms ships from docking there – for as long as Hamas is at war with the Jewish state.
Foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman declared firmly Friday night: No ships will reach Gaza. “There is nothing simpler than getting us to open the Gaza crossings: Let the Red Cross visit Gilead Shalit,” he said.
The Turkish government and radical Palestinian and non-Palestinian organizations are working closely together on their next moves, using the first flotilla boarded by Israeli commandos this week as the vanguard of a broader challenge to Israel. They see its Gaza blockade as the outer rampart to be knocked over first. Erdogan has earmarked millions of dollars for the IHH to purchase eight or ten ships bigger than the Mavi Marmara for their next assault, packed with the same “peace activists” as before.
Any sign of Israeli weakness in response to international censure on encourages them to redouble their efforts on behalf of Hamas. In his latest brickbat for Israel, Erdogan saw no contradiction between quoting the Ten Commandments: “Thou shalt not kill” – while solidly backing the murderous Palestinian organization dedicated to Israel’s destruction.
The “peace activists” aboard the Mavi Marmara were recorded on video as telling each other: “Remember September 11th.” Their pockets were found stuffed with thousands of dollars.
In Jerusalem, police were out in force to quell Palestinian riots in support of Turkey. Hurling rocks at passing Israeli cars on the streets of East Jerusalem, the demonstrators shouted: “Erdogan, come and destroy Tel Aviv!” Turkish flags were seen on city streets for the first time since the Ottoman Empire was defeated.