The World Reacts to Attack on Flotilla

Published: May 31st 2010
in News » World

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan
Pic: WikiMedia Commons

Israel’s attack on a Palestinian aid flotilla ignited street protests in Turkey, which for years has been Israel's sole Muslim ally in the region.


Ankara cancelled projected joint military exercises, as well as recalled its Israeli ambassador. Turkish President Abdullah Gul suggested the attacking troops be punished, however Israel maintains they fired out of self-defense.


Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan bears Islamist views in line with those of Iran and other enemies of Israel. These views are being blamed by many in Israel for progressively disagreeable relations between the two countries.


In light of Turkey’s reaction to the attack, Israel has told its tourists in Turkey to remain in their hotels.


Both Syria and Lebanon concede that the flotilla attack could lead to war. In a released joint statement, the two Middle Eastern nations “condemn the heinous crime committed by Israel through the brutal attacks on unarmed civilians on board the Freedom Flotilla.”


Even Egypt, the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel, condemned the country’s “excessive” use of force, Egyptian TV reported.


Pakistan also "strongly condemned" the attack.


As for the United Nations, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was “shocked” by the news and called for a full explanation from Israel, according to the text from a speech made in Kampala.


Western Europe hasn’t been holding back their condemnation for Israel’s response, either, though many are simply eager to learn of more details before formulating an opinion.


Spain, the current European Union president, together with France, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Austria, Greece and Cyprus all summoned Israel's respective ambassadors for answers, with Madrid calling the operation "unacceptable".


Germany is seeking an explanation of what took place after Israeli commandos carried by helicopter intercepted the flotilla, a foreign ministry official said. The country's Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle admitted he was "deeply concerned" about the deaths, while Italy's Foreign Minister Franco Frattini "deplored" the loss of civilian life.


The Vatican voiced "deep sadness and concern" and Middle East peace envoy Tony Blair expressed his "deep regret and shock."


British Foreign Secretary William Hague expressed regret for the loss of life, warning that Israel must "act with restraint,” though he also noted that London had previously warned of the risks of defying the Gaza blockade.


Like Turkey, Greece has also pulled out of joint military exercises with Israel, due to claims that a Greek vessel had been fired at by commandos in helicopters.


France's President Nicolas Sarkozy accused Israel of a "disproportionate use of force,” while Russia was also displeased with the "crude violation" of international law.


As for Canada, the Harper administration has said that it "deeply regrets" the loss of life and injuries in the Gaza blockade violence, but they are concerned with trying to figure out what "exactly" happened, according to Prime Minister Stephen Harper's senior spokesman.


The US also carefully chose its words, releasing a statement that expressed sadness for the loss of life.


According to reports, Israeli forces stormed a flotilla of aid ships Monday that were trying to deliver upwards of 10,000 tons of supplies to Gaza Monday, breaching a 2007 blockade imposed by Israel when Hamas was elected.


Reports indicate 19 people were killed in the attack on the flotilla.


Israel reportedly defended its use of force, saying those on board the ships had provoked the violence. It was reported that those aboard the flotilla attacked incoming Israeli soldiers with live fire, clubs and knives.

Related articles: (gaza aid flotilla, idf, raid, world responses)

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