(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman)
Israel calls on the organizers of the flotilla that is making for Gaza to refrain from this provocation, which has nothing to do with concern for the inhabitants of the Strip. Israel also calls on them to accept its offer to transfer their cargo to Gaza via the Israeli port of Ashdod. Israel would like to restate that, in the case of Israel’s offer being rejected, it will use all the means at its disposal to prevent the vessels from violating both Israeli domestic law and international law. The Government of Israel has instructed the Israel Defense Force and the Israeli Navy to act accordingly. In such an event, the responsibility for the consequences will fall squarely upon the organizers of this publicity stunt and its participants, as well as upon the owners of the vessels and the states from which the vessels set sail or whose flags they fly.
The flotilla constitutes a politically-motivated media event, initiated by anti-Israel activists and extreme Islamic elements, under the guise of an act the organizers are attempting to depict as a humanitarian operation.
There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Thousands of tons of food, goods and equipment are transferred each day to Gaza from Israel, both directly and through international organizations.
Since January 2009, more than a million tons of humanitarian aid have been transferred into Gaza. In the first quarter of 2010 alone, almost 100,000 tons of supplies have been provided, including 48,000 tons of food products, approximately 550 tons of milk powder and baby food, 2700 tons of rice, 40,000 tons of wheat, 185 tons of aggregates, 2000 tons of clothing and footwear, 20 tons of iron, 25 tons of cement and more than 1000 tons of medicine and medical equipment. The fuel and electricity needs are similarly being met, and hundreds of Palestinians from Gaza come to Israel for medical treatment.
Israel stands by its offer to unload the flotilla's cargo in Ashdod and to its transfer the contents to Gaza after appropriate examination.
Gaza is ruled by Hamas, a murderous terrorist organization directly supported by Iran. Hamas is concentrating its efforts on smuggling arms, including thousands of rockets to be aimed at the citizens of Israel - after having fired more than 10,000 rockets at Israeli cities in past years. Hamas also continues to carry out terrorist attacks, as well as to repress the human rights and freedoms of the Palestinians living in Gaza.
For four years, Hamas has been holding Gilad Shalit in total isolation, has refused to provide details on his condition and has prevented representatives of the International Red Cross from meeting him, in violation of international law.
* * *
Mark Regev, Israeli Government Spokesperson:
They call themselves human rights activists, but they remain silent when it comes to Hamas' deliberate targeting of Israeli civilians and the brutalities of the Hamas regime in Gaza, which has crushed political opposition, suppressed independent media and has locked up hundreds of political opponents.
If they were really interested in the well being of the people of Gaza, they would have accepted the offers of Egypt or Israel to transfer humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza, along with the other 15 thousand tons sent every week. Instead they have chosen a cheap political stunt.