Libya's Bateau Provocateur

November 24, 2016 22:56

There is absolutely no need for another superfluous ship to the Gaza Strip. Gaza is open to all civilian goods, a fact known the Libyan government.

Israel has already taken a major measure to improve conditions in Gaza. In a move called a “welcome development” by the international Quartet (US, EU, UN and Russia), on 20 June, the government of Israel decided to end all restrictions on the entry of civilian goods into Gaza. Now restrictions will be placed only on weapons, war materiel and items that can be used for military purposes. Still, it is important that all goods are checked to ensure that they are not on the restricted list of dangerous items.

Israel allows the transfer to the Gaza Strip of approximately 800 truckloads of supplies (15,000 tons) per week. The projected amount of supplies on the ship is less than the amount that Israel transfers to Gaza in a single day. This ship has nothing to do with humanitarian aid, and everything to do with creating a provocation.

2. The organisers of the ship have been invited to avoid an unnecessary confrontation by delivering their supplies to Gaza via Ashdod or El Arish.

Israel allows boats to offload their cargoes at Ashdod for transport to both the West Bank and Gaza after appropriate screening. Anyone truly interested in sending aid to residents of Gaza - as opposed to troublemaking - can use the existing overland channels, as do all the international organisations.

Recognising that “Israel has legitimate security concerns” the Quartet declared (21 June) that it “urges all those wishing to deliver goods to do so through established channels so that their cargo can be inspected and transferred via land crossings into Gaza. The Quartet emphasizes that there is no need for unnecessary confrontations…”

The US State Department issued (23 June) a similar statement to that of the Quartet, adding that “mechanisms exist for the transfer of humanitarian assistance to Gaza by member states and groups that want to do so. Direct delivery by sea is neither appropriate nor responsible, and certainly not effective, under the circumstances.”

That is why there is absolutely no need for any “humanitarian flotillas” to Gaza. So said (21 June) Tony Blair, when referring to Israel’s updated policy. The Quartet Envoy stated that “if we implement this policy so that the things that people are trying to bring in by flotilla you can bring in through the legitimate existing crossings, do it that way. That is the more sensible way to do that.”

Just last Friday (9 July), the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy expressed her apprehension regarding more ships headed for Gaza: "I am concerned about reports of further ships carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza. I would like to call on all of those involved to exercise calm and restraint at this particular juncture…. An escalation of tensions and unnecessary confrontations should be avoided.”

3. The purpose of the ship is to create a provocation and to open a sea lane to Gaza that will allow free reain to weapons and terrorists.

The ship is nothing more than an attempt by extremists to sabotage the peace efforts being led by PM Netanyahu and President Obama.

The proof of the fact that the goals of the organizers of the ship are political can be found in their own words. The Gaddafi Foundation published (11/6) on its website a notice reading: "Had our destination been the El Arish port, we would have spared ourselves the time and the effort, given money and sent a land convoy as we did last year."

A potential threat has already been conveyed in the words of a passenger. Atzam al-Sudani stated in an interview to al-Jazeera television that: “As Muslims, we are not afraid of death. On the contrary, we love shahida” [a martyr’s death for Allah’s sake].

4. Israel acts in accordance with international law. The maritime blockade off the coast of Gaza was established in accordance with international law and conventions. It is designed to prevent the large-scale smuggling of weapons to be used against Israel by Hamas. As Tony Blair noted (9 June) "There's no question that there are rockets fired from Gaza and that there are people in Gaza who want to kill innocent Israelis. When it comes to security, I'm 100 percent on Israel's side. Israel has the right to inspect what goes into Gaza."

5. Gilad Shalit: While Israel has taken a major step forward in improving the quality of life of Palestinians in Gaza, the abducted soldier Gilad Shalit has yet to receive any humanitarian assistance. Shalit has been held captive by Hamas for over 4 years, and has not even been allowed a single visit by the Red Cross.

November 24, 2016 22:56

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