Netanyahu. Won't allow Iranian port in Gaza
Photo: Amit Shabi
'Rachel Corrie'. Vessel of peace
Photo: AP

PM: Marmara sail organized by violent extremists

Netanyahu says quiet takeover of Rachel Corrie vessel illustrates 'difference between a peace sail and a hate sail'

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saturday that the takeover of the Gaza-bound Rachel Corrie aid vessel ended peacefully due to the fact that the sail was organized by peace activists, as opposed to the previous sail, which left nine passengers dead after they attacked Israel Defense Forces soldiers aboard the Turkish-owned Marmara vessel.


"Today we saw the difference between a sail of peace activists, with whom we don't agree but honor their right to express a different opinion, and a hate sail organized by terrorism-supporting violent extremists," said Netanyahu, who was briefed on the development throughout the morning.


The prime minister clarified that "in both sails the State of Israel used the exact same procedure to enforce the marine blockade, to prevent the smuggling of weapons to Hamas and to allow civilian goods to enter Gaza after being checked."


He stressed that this time the procedure ended without any injuries, as did the takeover of five of the six vessels which tried to sail to Gaza on Monday.


"The difference was in one terror-supporting ship, where our soldiers were met on the deck by radical Islamist activists carrying axes and knives. Israel will continue to maintain its right to self-defense. We will not allow the establishment of an Iranian port in Gaza."


An IDF official said earlier Saturday that "what happened today is the difference between peace activists and murders."


Knesset Member Ofir Akonis (Likud) said that the quiet takeover of the Rachel Corrie vessel sharpened the difference between "this sail and the Marmara's terror sail, and proves to the world that the terrorist passengers sought in an intentional clash with the IDF's soldiers and the State of Israel."


The Palestinian Hamas organization, which won a huge PR victory following the recent events, said Saturday that the Rachel Corrie takeover was "a continuation of the Gaza siege."


Senior Hamas member Salah Bardawil told the al-Jazeera network that "this will lead to further criticism from around the world."


Roee Nahmias contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 06.05.10, 15:29
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