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Israel defiant on Gaza blockade

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Israel defiant on Gaza blockade


In the furnace of Middle Eastern politics, the relationship between Israel and Turkey often catches the eye.

Commercial interests play a big part. In 2009, the two countries traded goods worth 2 billion euros and have signed a number of joint defence and utility projects.

But 18 months after their fallout over the bombing of Gaza, some say the convoy raid could push Turkish-Israeli ties to breaking point.

With Ankara’s Islamic-leaning government gaining more influence over Turkey’s powerful generals, military cooperation is now expected to suffer.

Turkey wants Israel to lift its blockade of Gaza before ties can return to normal.

But that suggestion has been dismissed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“Hamas is smuggling thousands of Iranian rockets, missiles and other weaponry, smuggling it into Gaza in order to fire on Israel’s cities,” he told reporters.

“Under international law and under common sense and common decency, Israel has every right to interdict this weaponry.”

His stance is largely reflective of Israeli political opinion.

One Arab lawmaker, Hanin Zoabi, was heckled in parliament when she took the podium on Wednesday to condemn the raid.

A fellow member screamed in Arabic during her speech: “Go to Gaza, you traitor!”

Zoabi sailed with the flotilla and the activists.

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