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'Quell criticism.' Ben-Eliezer
'Complex.' Barak and IDF chief Ashkenazi
Photo: Dalit Shacham
Ben-Eliezer says Israeli PR 'disgrace'
Labor minister says faulty PR management during flotilla raid affair 'led us into the bad situation we are in,' but party chairman Barak says incident complex, making it 'difficult to defend'

During a meeting of Labor ministers on Thursday, Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer leveled harsh criticism at the management of Israel's public relations outlay during the recent flotilla raid affair. He called the PR layout surrounding the incident a "disgrace," and said "it has led us into the bad situation we are in."

 

"An international commission of inquiry must be established because we have nothing to hide. We must quell world criticism," said Ben-Eliezer.

 

Defense Minister and Labor Chairman Ehud Barak said that the flotilla incident is complex, and, therefore, does not justify attacks against Israel's public relations layout.

  

"Even if we do not like the things being published in the world press regarding the flotilla affair, we must understand that a complex incident makes defending it difficult," said Barak in response to the statements made during the meeting of Labor Party ministers.

 

Earlier Thursday, a source close to Barak said Israel has "nothing to hide, but there is no way of stopping the UN decision to set up a commission of inquiry."

 

"We operated on the international level to stop the (Gaza) sail, which threatened Israel's security interests. We warned the (flotilla's) organizers and gave them every opportunity; eventually we acted with a lot of restraint in the face of the (activists') violence," he said.

 

"Criticizing Israel for safeguarding its security interests is hypocritical. No country would ever allow such a flotilla to pass through its territory. The prime minister made this clear in his comments yesterday," the source added.

 

Roni Sofer contributed to the report

 

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