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Marmara ready to go
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IHH sends 'no violence' message to Israel
Flotilla organizers ask Turkish Jews to tell Israeli government they are willing to subject vessels to international inspection before heading to Gaza in late June. Meanwhile, Turkish government officials vow to stop flotilla from departing
Sources linked to the Jewish community in Istanbul say that leaders of the IHH organization have approached them with a request to send a message to Israel saying they are not interested in a violent clash with the IDF, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Tuesday.

 

Senior elements within the Jewish community in Turkey have conveyed this message to Israeli representatives.

 

 

The IHH heads propose that the vessels taking part in the upcoming flotilla will be checked by an international team in a third country such as Cyprus. According to the proposal, the ships will be allowed to head for Gaza only after it is confirmed they are carrying nothing but humanitarian aid.

 

The IHH is thereby meeting a condition set by Israel stipulating that humanitarian aid can only be transferred to Gaza subject to inspection.

 

It should be noted that Israel considers the IHH a terrorist organization and has no known intention of negotiating with it directly. Jerusalem is trying to reach understandings with the Turkish government before the flotilla arrives.

 

It is unclear whether the IHH proposal had been coordinated with the Turkish government but it does fit it with the change in Ankara's stance. Turkish government officials announced Monday that Ankara will try to stop the flotilla as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan prefers focusing on the Syrian crisis, rather the Palestinian issue. Earlier this week, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu urged the IHH to postpone the sail.

 

Message of reconciliation

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent a message of reconciliation to Turkey on Monday. During a press conference with his Italian counterpart, Netanyahu said that Israel strives to rectify the relations with Ankara.

 

Meanwhile, the IDF is gearing for all possible scenarios. It is estimated that 11 ships will depart from various ports on June 25 and meet in the western Mediterranean. The flotilla organizers are planning to reach Gaza on the first week of July.

 

The defense establishment has meanwhile suspended procedures meant to outlaw several Turkish organizations for the purpose of arresting their members on board the ships. The freeze is meant to prevent what could appear as a provocation vis-à-vis Turkey and allow it to prevent the flotilla's departure.

 

Alex Fishman contributed to this report

 

 

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