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The International Community Upholds Israel’s Right to Stop the Flotilla and Flytilla

The International Community Upholds Israel’s Right to Stop the Flotilla and Flytilla

International leaders confirm the legality and necessity of Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza

U.S.: “As a country, we will never tolerate our security being threatened….We will be relentless in defense of our citizens.” —U.S. President Barack Obama, May 1, 2011

“Recent seizures by Israel and Egypt of advanced military systems, weapons, and ammunition bound for terrorist groups in Gaza…underscore the vital importance to Israel’s security of ensuring that all cargo bound for Gaza is appropriately screened for illegal arms and dual-use materials.” —U.S. State Department Spokesperson, June 24, 2011[1]

Canada: “Canada recognizes Israel’s legitimate security concerns and its right to protect itself and its residents from attacks by Hamas and other terrorist groups, including by preventing the smuggling of weapons.”  —Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird, May 28, 2011[2]

U.N.  The UN Report on the 2010 Flotilla “determined that Israel's naval blockade of Gaza is in keeping with international law, and therefore its actions to stop the flotilla were also legal.” —June 26, 2011[3]

Quartet (UN, U.S., EU, Russia): “The Quartet recognizes that Israel has legitimate security concerns that must continue to be safeguarded…to prevent the illicit trafficking of arms and ammunition into Gaza.” —July 2, 2011[4]

British EU Parliamentary Member: “Given that Israel faces a daily threat from terrorist attacks by Hamas, it is well within its rights to take necessary action and impose a naval blockade to prevent weapons and other terrorist resources from entering the Gaza Strip.” —British MEP Charles Tannock[5]  

International leaders confirm that flotilla provocateurs, not Israel, would be responsible for violence.

Dutch EU Parliamentary Member: “If these groups attempt to run the blockade, then they should not be surprised by the response they will receive. Israel has a right to defend itself.” —Dutch MEP Peter van Dalen[6]

U.S.: “[G]roups and individuals who seek to break Israel’s maritime blockade of Gaza are taking irresponsible and provocative actions.” —U.S. State Department Spokesman Mark Toner, June 1, 2011[7]

Germany: The flotilla is “not about humanitarian help, [but] rather a confrontation with Israel.” —Philip Missfelder, foreign policy spokesman of the largest combined group of MPs in the German parliament[8]

UN: “The secretary-general called on all governments concerned to use their influence to discourage such flotillas, which carry the potential to escalate into violent conflict.” —Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, May 27, 2011[9]

Canada: “Unauthorized efforts to deliver aid are provocative and, ultimately, unhelpful to the people of Gaza.” —Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird, May 28, 2011[10]

France: “The flotilla is a bad idea that is expected only to increase tension and be a source of conflict.” —French Foreign Ministry[11]

Greece: “The Foreign Ministry—bearing in mind the UN Secretary-General’s request, the Israeli government’s stated intention not to allow vessels to approach the Gaza coast and the immediate danger to human life entailed in participation in the operation…urges Greek citizens as well as Greek-registered vessels not to participate in the new flotilla headed for the Gaza port.” —Greek Foreign Ministry Statement[12] 

International leaders condemn the flotilla as unnecessary. Aid can be sent through legal channels.

U.S. “We want to just reiterate that there are established and efficient mechanisms for getting humanitarian assistance through to Gaza.” —U.S. State Department Spokesman Mark Toner, June 1, 2011[13]

The second-flotilla plan is not “useful or productive or helpful to the people of Gaza.” —U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Netherlands: “The Netherlands government has called upon organizations to refrain from participation in the Gaza flotilla since it will not help to improve the situation in Gaza.” —Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal[14]

International Leaders confirm that the flotilla is counterproductive and undermines peace efforts

Turkey: “We are reconsidering our plans (about participating in the flotilla)….From our point of view, the developments in neighboring Syria are critically important.” —IHH Board Member Hüseyin Oruç, June 14, 2011[15]

Germany: “The flotilla does not help the peace process but is an obstacle to peace…and is “part of the asymmetrical warfare against Israel….The activists are working against the goals of both the Quartet and Germany herself, in her role as a member of the UN Security Council to advance peace.” —Philip Missfelder, foreign policy spokesman of largest combined group of MPs in the German parliament[16]

EU: “I don't consider a flotilla to be the right response.” —EU High Commissioner for Foreign Policy Catherine Ashton[17]

International leaders and companies confirm the right to stop flotilla and flytilla passengers

Greece: The port blockade of the flotilla was under a provision of Greek law governing “the necessity of ensuring the safety of people and the safety of sailing that allows the government to prevent the sailing of the ship.” —Greek Foreign Minister Stavros Lambrinidis[18]

Swiss Airlines: “If a country informs the airline that somebody will not be allowed to enter,” the airline is “legally obliged” to decline boarding said passengers, because “any country has the right to refuse entry.” —Swiss Air spokesperson Donzel Jean Claude[19]

International Bar Association, London: Israel barring airline passengers is “a little like the U.S. no-fly list, in the sense the Homeland Security Department is sending out lists of individuals not allowed to enter the U.S….Any country has the right to say who may or may not be permitted in the borders of their country.” —Dr. Mark Ellis, executive director of the International Bar Association in London[20]

[1] Victoria Nuland, U.S. State Department Spokesperson, “Gaza Anniversary Flotilla,” U.S. State Department Press Statement, June 24, 2011 at

[2] "Minister Baird Statement on Participation in Gaza Flotillas." Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT). Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office, 28 May 2011 at

[3] Barak Ravid, “Israeli Official: Turkey Wants UN to Tone Down Report on Gaza Flotilla Raid,” Ha’aretz, June 26, 2011 at

[4] Office of the Spokesperson, “Quartet Statement on the Situation in Gaza,” Washington, D.C., July 2, 2011 at

[5] Johnny Paul, “Center-Right MEPS Come Out Against New Gaza Flotilla,” Jerusalem Post, May 12, 2011 at

[6] Johnny Paul, “Center-Right MEPS Come Out Against New Gaza Flotilla,” Jerusalem Post, May 12, 2011 at

[7] Mark Toner, “U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing,” June 1, 2011 at

[8] Yaakov Katz and Benjamin Weinthal,“Navy Braced for Gaza-Bound French Boat that Left Greece,” Jerusalem Post, July 6, 2011 at

[9] UN Secretary General Statement, May 27, 2011 at

[10] Canada Foreign Affairs Minister, “Minister Baird Statement on Participation in Gaza Flotillas,” May 28, 2011 at

[11] "Another Ship Headed to Gaza Damaged." UPI. United Press International, Inc., 30 June 2011 at


[12] "Foreign Ministry Announcement regarding the Intention of Greek Citizens to Participate in a Flotilla That Will Attempt to Break the Gaza Blockade." Embassy of Greece Washington DC. Ministry of Foreign Affairs at

[13] US Department of State. Bureau of Public Affairs. Daily Press Briefing. U.S. Department of State. 1 June 2011 at

[14] Weinthal, Benjamin. "Dutch Government Places IHH on Terror List." The Jerusalem Post. 1 May 2011 at

[15] Fulya Ozerkan, “Relief group signals U-turn on Gaza plan,” Hurriyet Daily News, June 14, 2011 at

[16] Katz, Yaakov, and Benjamin Weinthal. "Navy Braced for Gaza-bound French Boat That Left Greece." Jerusalem Post. 06 July 2011 at

[17] Speech of High Representative Catherine Ashton on Main Aspects and Basic Choices of the Common Foreign and Security Policy and the Common Security and Defence Policy." Letter to Mr President, Honourable Members. 11 May 2011.EUROPEAN UNION. European Parliament - Strasbourg, 11 May 2011 at

[18] Jahn, George. "Greek Foreign Minister Defends Greek Decision Not to Allow Gaza Flotilla to Saill as Legal." 1310News -The Associated Press, 07 July 2011 at

[18] Dahr Jamail, “Israel’s No Fly Zone,” Al Jazeera, July 8, 2011 at

[18] Dahr Jamail, “Israel’s No Fly Zone,” Al Jazeera, July 8, 2011 at



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