Monday, May 31, 2010

World angrily condemns Israeli massacre of aid convoy, but Jewish supremacist Washington only issues "regrets"

Israeli naval attack triggers protests through Europe, Mideast
(Reuters) -- By Cynthia Johnston --

DUBAI—Israel's storming of a Gaza-bound aid flotilla set off a diplomatic furor, drawing criticism from friends and foes alike and straining ties with regional ally Turkey, which called off planned joint military exercises.

The United Nations Security Council called an emergency session for later on Monday following the killing of a number of mostly international activists aboard a six-ship convoy that tried to break Israel's blockade of Gaza.

Washington said it deeply regretted the loss of life and was examining the circumstances that led to the bloodshed while Turkey, Israel's strongest Muslim friend in the region, summoned the Jewish state's ambassador and said it would recall its own.

"This attack is another sign of the reckless levels that the Israeli government's violent policies have reached," Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said in a televised speech.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cancelled plans to meet U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington on Tuesday, an Israeli statement said, in the wake of the raid.

"Netanyahu decided to cut short his visit to Canada and return to Israel early," the statement said. Netanyahu has been in Canada since Friday for talks with government leaders.

Israeli commandos intercepted the flotilla carrying 700 people and 10,000 tonnes of supplies for Gaza before dawn on Monday. Officials said they were met with knives when they boarded the ships, including a ferry flying the Turkish flag.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas described the killings as a massacre, and the United Nations and European Union both demanded an inquiry. Rights group Amnesty International said Israeli forces appeared to have used excessive force.

Turkey, which had urged Israel to allow the ships safe passage, cancelled three planned joint military exercises with Israel, and Ankara said Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan would cut short an official visit to Latin America to return home.

"Israel will have to endure the consequences of this behaviour," Turkey's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Television images from Ankara, whose ties with Israel had already soured somewhat since last year following Turkish criticism of Israel, showed dozens of people gathered outside Israeli Ambassador Gabby Levy's residence in Turkey's capital.

France's Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said the violence could not be justified. "I am profoundly shocked by the tragic consequences of the Israeli military operation against the Peace Flotilla for Gaza," he said in a statement.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said: "It is vital that there is a full investigation to determine exactly how this bloodshed took place. I believe Israel must urgently provide a full explanation."


Iran, one of Israel's biggest foes, said the killings were "inhuman" and would help lead to the Jewish state's demise, and some 200 Iranians staged a demonstration near the United Nations building in Tehran to protest against the storming.

"All these acts indicate the end of the heinous and fake regime and will bring it closer to the end of its existence," President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told state broadcaster IRIB. Iran is under international pressure over its nuclear programme.

In the Arab world, the incident was viewed as an overreaction to an attempt to challenge Israel's Gaza blockade that could put the brakes on any further efforts at normalization and may derail the peace process.

"Israel's attack indicates Israel is not ready for peace. Israel attacked the liberty fleet because it feels it is above the law," Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa said.

"There is no benefit in dealing with Israel in this manner and we must re-assess our dealing with Israel," he said...MORE...LINK

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