Former IDF Navy commander Major General (res.) Eliezer Marom warned that a lack of response by Israel to the “Freedom Flotilla III” headed towards Gaza will only lead to worse problems.
The flotilla, which set sail from various European ports over the past week, are attempting to break through Israel’s maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip. Under the guise of a humanitarian mission, the flotilla are attempting to undermine Israel’s legitimacy and focus international spotlight on supposed “war crimes” being carried out against Palestinians.
Moram told Israel’s Channel 2 that should Israel should not cave to international pressure and allow the flotilla to pass through. Doing so would lead to a flooding of ships into Gaza without Israel’s consent or security supervision.
“Iranian ships will enter Gaza in the near future,” he warned.
The former commander said that small concessions will only lead to an increase in terror activity in the Hamas controlled enclave.
— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) June 28, 2015
“If we give up on inspections at checkpoints and preventing terror attacks…we will gain the sympathy of the world but citizens will die here,” Moram explained. “We must not give up. We should act according to policy and international law.” Moram urged Israeli officials “to remember who we’re dealing with: Hamas, a terror organization.”
Some 70 “activists” hailing from 20 countries are aboard the boats headed towards Gaza, including former Tunisian President Mohamed Marzouki and Israeli Arab MK Basel Ghattas of the Joint Arab List. “It is my right and moral obligation to tell the world, ‘Behold, look, in Gaza there is a closure and two million people are on the brink of explosion,’” Ghattas told Walla! news site earlier this week. “A solution to this problem must be found, along with ways to end the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.” Israeli officials have warned that the flotilla will be stopped before they have a chance to dock at Gaza ports.
Channel 2 reporter Ohad Hemo, who is aboard the Marianne, one of the boats of the flotilla, said Saturday that 18 people aboard the boat pledged to not use violence against an anticipated boarding by IDF naval commandos and would only “passively resist.”
To previous flotillas have been intercepted by the IDF, one in 2010 and the other in 2011. In May 2010, Israeli commandos stopped the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara and were violent attacked by those on board the ship. Several soldiers were seriously injured.
Nine Turkish citizens died when commandos were forced to open fire in self-defense.