Ten dead as Israel storms aid ships, sparks outcry


One of six ships bound for Gaza is seen in the Mediterranean Sea May 31, 2010.
REUTERS/Uriel Sinai/Pool

Israeli marines stormed a Turkish aid ship bound for Gaza on Monday and 10 pro-Palestinian activists were killed, triggering a diplomatic crisis and plans for an emergency session of the U.N. Security Council.

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Israel in the Last Days

“And they shall no more be a preyStrongs 957: z;Ab baz; from 962; plunder:—booty, prey, spoil(-ed). to the heathenStrongs 1471: ywø…g gowy, go´-ee; rarely (shortened) y…Og goy, go´-ee; apparently from the same root as 1465 (in the sense of massing); a foreign nation; hence, a Gentile; also (figuratively) a troop of animals, or a flight of locusts:—Gentile, heathen, nation, people., neither shall the beast of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safelyStrongs 983:betach, beh´takh; from 982; properly, a place of refuge; abstract, safety, both the fact (security) and the feeling (trust); often (adverb with or without preposition) safely:—assurance, boldly, (without) care(-less), confidence, hope, safe(-ly, -ty), secure, surely., and none shall make them afraidStrongs 2729: charad, khaw-rad´; a primitive root; to shudder with terror; hence, to fear; also to hasten (with anxiety):—be (make) afraid, be careful, discomfit, fray (away), quake, tremble..”
— Ezekiel 34:28

Moving Towards Ezekiel 38-39

“Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee.”
—Ezekiel 38:6

Editors note about the word TogarmahMany Bible teachers believe Togarmah includes the area of present day Turkey, Armenia & Georgia.

European nations, as well as the United Nations and Turkey, voiced outrage at the bloody end to the international campaigners’ bid to break Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Its navy stopped six ships ferrying 700 people and 10,000 tonnes of supplies toward the Islamist-run Palestinian enclave.

Once-close Muslim ally Turkey accused Israel of “terrorism” in international waters, and the U.N. Security Council prepared an emergency session. But in Washington, Israel’s powerful friend the United States said only that it regretted the loss of life and was looking into the “tragedy.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was in Canada and expressed full support for the navy operation, cut short a visit to North America that was to have ended on Tuesday with a meeting at the White House with U.S. President Barack Obama.

That meeting had seemed intended to soothe U.S.-Israel ties, which have been strained by differences over recently revived

peace talks with the Palestinians. But Obama must also balance support for Israel, which is popular with American voters, with understanding for an angry Turkey and other Muslim U.S. allies.

As the captured foreign vessels were escorted into Israel’s port of Ashdod, accounts were sketchy of the pre-dawn operation, some 120 km (75 miles) out in the Mediterranean. Marines stormed aboard from dinghies and rappelled down from helicopters.

Senior Israeli defense officials said 10 activists died on the Mavi Marmara, a Turkish cruise ship carrying 581 people, after commandos came under fire, including with weapons that the activists had snatched from the boarding party. Seven of the troops and 20 protesters were injured, the military said.

Israel imposed a communications blackout on those aboard the convoy and other accounts of events were not available. Consular officials were at Ashdod seeking access to detained foreigners.

It was unclear who the casualties were. A senior Israeli naval officer said most of the dead were Turks. The convoy also featured Americans, Israelis, Palestinians and many Europeans.

TURKISH ANGER

The bloodshed sparked street protests and government ire in Turkey, long Israel’s lone Muslim ally in the region.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, whose Islamist views and outreach to Iran and other Israeli enemies are blamed by many in Israel for souring relations, said before cutting short a trip to Chile: “This action, totally contrary to the principles of international law, is inhumane state terrorism.”

Ankara also canceled joint military exercises and recalled its ambassador. Israel told tourists in Turkey to stay indoors.

An Israeli minister admitted plans to maintain the blockade on Hamas, the Islamist group that rules Gaza, while avoiding an international incident had backfired in spectacular fashion:

“It’s going to be a big scandal, no doubt about it,” Trade Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer told Reuters.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said: “What Israel has committed on board the Freedom Flotilla was a massacre.” He seems unlikely to continue U.S.-mediated peace talks for now.

Israel’s deputy foreign minister, Danny Ayalon, blamed the activists for the violence and branded them allies of Israel’s Islamist enemies Hamas and al Qaeda. Had they got through, he said, they would have opened an arms smuggling route to Gaza.

He dismissed charges that Israel had broken international law by boarding foreign ships far beyond its territorial waters.

Video from the convoy showed a commando shinning down a rope and clashing with a man wielding a stick, who later appeared to try to stab the marine. Military night-vision footage appeared to show dozens of people swarming around smaller numbers of marines, but did not seem to show the killings of the activists.

One commando told reporters that he came under fire and was attacked with metal bars and knives as he came down onto a ship from a helicopter around 4 a.m. (0100 GMT). Some activists, speaking Arabic, tried to take marines hostage, he said.

HIGH ALERT, PEACE TALKS IN DOUBT

Israeli forces were on high alert on the Gaza, Syrian and Lebanese borders as well as around Jerusalem, the occupied West Bank and Arab-populated areas of northern Israel. Aside from a few scuffles, however, there was little violence.

Israel’s Arab enemy Syria, which hosts exiled Hamas leaders, called for an Arab League meeting. The League condemned what it called a “terrorist act.” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called it “inhuman.” Tehran urged the world to isolate Israel.

More worryingly for Israel, its friends also showed little sympathy. The outrage sounded at times more uniformly hostile to the Jewish state than during its offensive in Gaza, which killed 1,400 Palestinians in December 2008 and January 2009.

Israel said it launched that war to curb Hamas rocket fire on its towns. But it has found it harder to win understanding for an embargo limiting supplies to 1.5 million people in Gaza, including cement the U.N. says it needs to repair bomb damage.

Senior U.N. officials responsible for the aid on which Gaza depends said: “Such tragedies are entirely avoidable if Israel heeds the repeated calls of the international community to end its counterproductive and unacceptable blockade of Gaza.”

Greta Berlin, a spokeswoman for the Free Gaza Movement that organized the convoy, said: “How could the Israeli military attack civilians like this? Do they think that because they can attack Palestinians indiscriminately they can attack anyone?”

(Writing by Alastair Macdonald, Additional reporting by Michele Kambas in Nicosia and Tulay Karadeniz in Ankara bureau; Editing by Tim Pearce)

  1. john, 31 May, 2010

    you transported weapons

    you got caught

    tough luck

  2. Ernest Gregoire, 01 June, 2010

    Israel would not get a greater outcry of condemnation against them if they had sunk the boats!

    Next time, sink them!

  3. Fauz, 01 June, 2010

    I don’t know the full details of this, however it certainly is contributing to turning the world against Israel.

  4. James, 02 June, 2010

    Well said.

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