The storming by Israeli marines of a Turkish aid ship bound for Gaza has triggered a diplomatic crisis. 10 pro-Palestinian activists were reported killed in the raid in international waters, prompting worldwide outrage and an emergency session of the UN Security Council.
The Israeli prime minister Bejamin Netanyahu, who was in Canada, has staunchly defended the operation. He was due to meet President Obama in Washington tomorrow but is returning home early.
“What we wanted to prevent coming into Gaza are rockets, missiles, explosives and war material that could be used to attack our civilians,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “This is an ongoing policy and it was the one that guided our action yesterday. We succeded doing this peacefully with five of the six ships. The sixth ship the largest which had hundreds of people on it not only did not cooperate in this effort peacefully, they deliberately attacked the first soldiers that came on the ship they were mobbed, they were clubbed, they were beaten, stabbed, there was even report of gun fire. And our soldiers had to defend themselves, defend their lives or they would have been killed”.
Turkey’s prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused Israel of “state terrorism”. The government in Ankara has links with the charity that helped co-ordinate the aid; some of the victims were Turkish.