Communicated by Deputy Foreign Minister’s Bureau
Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon held a conference call this evening (1 June) with more than 700 heads of Jewish federations and Jewish community leaders in the United States, in the wake of the events yesterday concerning the interception of the Gaza flotilla.
The call was organized by the Jewish Federation of North America, which represents 157 Jewish federations and 400 Jewish communities.
During the conference call, DFM Ayalon talked at length about the importance of stopping the flotilla and maintaining the maritime blockade on the Gaza Strip. He reiterated that there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza, described in detail the interception of the flotilla and its outcome, and answered questions. The organizers of the conference call in the US declared it an unprecedented success; thousands wanted to participate in the call but technically only a little more than 700 were able to do so.
The main points covered in the call were:
1. It is essential that Israel and the international community keep the focus on what is certainly the main problem in the Middle East and in the world: a nuclear Iran. Iran is trying in numerous ways to distract international attention away from its nuclearization on the eve of the Security Council’s resolution on the subject. Iran is using extremist organizations and states in order to distract world attention, and it is entirely possible that the timing of the “terrorist flotilla” is not coincidental.
2. The purpose of intercepting the flotilla was to protect Israel’s security and sovereignty by maintaining the maritime blockade on the Hamas terrorist entity and the hostile territory of the Gaza Strip. Israel must continue the blockade in order to prevent more terrorist victims. If the international community wants to give the proximity talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority a real chance, it must strengthen the PA and Abu Mazen and not the Hamas.
3. The goal of the flotilla was not peace but rather to continue the terrorism and to strengthen the waning status of Hamas, which has been losing political and economic power.
4. IHH, the organization behind the flotilla, has close connections with Hamas, Al-Qaeda, and Global Jihad.
5. Israel regrets the loss of life, but responsibility for Monday’s events rests solely on the organizers.
In answer to a question concerning Israeli-Turkish relations, the deputy foreign minister said that Israel did not attack Turkey, although the latter had the power to stop the flotilla, as Cypress did. Turkey must decide for itself where its interests lie.
DFM Ayalon thanked all the participants for their support of Israel and asked them to continue to engage in public diplomacy. For this purpose, the participants will be sent clips from the IDF Spokesperson.
In light of the conference call’s success, the participants asked the organizers to set up calls of this type on a regular basis as well as in times of emergency.