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Lieberman during press conference
Photo: Noam Moskowitz
Peres. Violent and provocative sail
Photo: Herzl Yosef
FM says won't recall ambassador from Turkey
Lieberman praises IDF, blames radical elements in Arab-Israeli sector of using event to voice their stance; estimates Gaza sail raid won't affect proximity talks since 'there was no Palestinian enthusiasm over negotiations even before the sail'

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told Ynet Monday that despite recent events and Ankara's recall of its ambassador from Tel Aviv, he has no plans of making a similar move which might ignite a full-blown crisis with Turkey.

 

"I do no intend to recall Ambassador Gabby Levy despite the Turkish decision. I have no intention of enflaming the relations. Nevertheless, the event's repercussions are expected to be felt for a long time and our goal is to find a common ground with Turkey in order to maintain stability." Lieberman said. 

 

Addressing the presence of Arab-Israeli leaders in the aid flotilla Lieberman said, "Even before the incident, there were elements such as Ameer Makhoul and Azmi Bishara who acted in a radical manner. There are radical elements that take advantage of any event to present their stance and in this case the Gaza sail."

 

The foreign minister estimated that the Naval operation would have no effect on the proximity talks which are already in a state of stagnation. "Even before the sail I saw no enthusiasm from negotiations on the Palestinian side. As far as they are concerned the PA took a bigger hit than Hamas."

 

Following the deadly results of the IDF raid, the foreign minister convened a press conference in which he praised the soldiers who "acted responsibly with great courage and restraint, under unlikely conditions and a brutal attack by a bunch of anarchists, hooligans and terror-supporters."

 

At least nine people were killed during the incident. Six IDF soldiers were injured, two of them in serious condition.

 

Lieberman said he regretted the loss of human life. "The State of Israel is a sovereign state and cannot allow offences to its sovereignty. Any country is permitted to examine any ship which plans to enter its territory. I also heard claims that the raid was held in international waters. I wish to note that Karine-A was also detained in international waters. As soon as the ship's purpose was made clear and the refusal to heed warnings, we acted in accordance with all international laws."

 

'Hamas responsible'

President Shimon Peres also expressed his support of the IDF Monday placing responsibility for the bloodshed on Hamas and its supporters. "They decided to prevent peace between the Palestinians and Israel. We cleared out of Gaza and Hamas turned it into a firing center using more than 1,000 rockets against Israeli citizens.

 

"This is an organization which constantly purchases and smuggles arms. Hamas knows that there is another way that can be chosen, such as the one adopted by the Palestinian Authority. This way they could achieve prosperity for their people but despite this they chose terror."

 

The president also stressed that the IDF operation was justified. "Israel as a democratic nation has an obligation to protect its residents. It cannot allow the arrival of unchecked goods and ships into Gaza. The violent and provocative sail was meant to support Hamas and assisting this organization is the same as supporting the path of terror."

 

Referring to the troops' conduct Peres said, "The passengers' violent conduct towards the IDF forced the soldiers to defend themselves. The sail's organizers are responsible for the grave results. The whole purpose of the sail was to create a provocation and not provide humanitarian aid. I regret the loss of life and call on the parties to show restraint."

 

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