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Lieberman, 'No crisis'
Photo: Gil Yohanan
One of the ships en route to Gaza
Photo: AFP
Lieberman: Gaza flotilla 'violent'
Foreign minister says 'there is no humanitarian crisis in Strip,' calls fleet of aid ship en route to Gaza 'an attempt at violent propaganda against Israel.' We will not allow violation of our sovereignty, he adds

Hours before its arrival, the foreign minister lashes out at the Gaza flotilla. Avigdor Lieberman said Friday afternoon that "the flotilla is an attempt at violent propaganda against Israel, and Israel will not allow a violation of its sovereignty at sea, in the air, or on land."

 

Lieberman, who spoke during a visit to the Forgein Ministry's situation room, added, "There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza, and despite the Hamas leadership's war crimes and rocket fire, Israel is conducting itself in the most humanitarian manner, and is allowing the entrance of thousands of tons of food and equipment to Gaza."

 

The Foreign Ministry on Friday held a situation evaluation along with representatives from the ministry.

 

Meanwhile, in Gaza, Palestinians are preparing for the arrival of the ships. Palestinian and Turkish flags have been hung at several locations across the Strip.

 

As the Free Gaza ships made their way to the shores of the Strip on Friday morning, the organizers broadcast live footage from one of the ships.

 

Moments after the footage was published on Ynet, the number of viewers tripled, and the organizers replaced the live feed with propaganda films displaying images from Gaza during Operation Cast Lead. Minutes later, the broadcast from the ship was renewed.

 

The Israel Defense Forces said they would block access to the live footage as the ships near the shores of Gaza, meaning a takeover of the ships will be done secretly.

 

Before the live feed was replaced with the propaganda, a camera was planted on one of the ships broadcasting activity on it. Flags of Algeria, Turkey, Sweden, Ireland and the Palestinian Authority could be seen in the background.

 

Turkish could occasionally be heard being spoken, and several of the activists could be seen looking to the waters of the Mediterranean and taking pictures.

 

A calm atmosphere was seen in the footage, with mattresses on the deck and occasional announcements to the passengers in Turkish.

 

On Thursday, the Israeli Navy prepared for the expected encounter with the aid flotilla making its way to Gaza. IDF sources said they were concerned that terrorists may try to use the "Freedom Flotilla" to enter the Strip or smuggle in weapons.

 

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