Israel has defended yesterday's attack on an aid ship heading for Gaza, which left 19 activists dead, saying that they were defending themselves.
Yesterday’s attack from Israeli forces on a flotilla of aid-carrying ships aiming to break the country’s siege on Gaza have been upheld as self-defence.
Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he regretted the loss of life but insisted that his soldiers were under attack from the Turkish-led flotilla of six vessels, and were only defending themselves.
‘Our soldiers were mobbed. They were clubbed, they were beaten, stabbed,’ he said.
However pro-Palestinian groups argued that the Israeli navy commandos opened fire without provocation as they attempted to board off the coast of the Gaza strip.
The flotilla, containing around 700 activists and 10,000 tonnes of aid supplies set off from Cyprus to draw attention to an Israeli trade blockade which was imposed in 2007, after the militant Hamas group seized the territory of 1.5 million Palestinians.
World leaders condemned yesterday’s attack as thousands of anti-Israeli demonstrators took to the streets in several capital cities.
‘I deplore the loss of life during the interception of the Gaza flotilla,’ said Foreign secretary William Hague.
‘We have consistently advised against attempting to access Gaza in this way because of the risks involved. But at the same time, there is a clear need for Israel to act with restraint and in line with international obligations,’ he said.
‘There obviously has to be a full investigation into what has happened’ says UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon.
‘I believe Israel must urgently provide a full explanation‘, he said.
Several British activists were on board the ship, although none are believed to have been killed. After the raid, the ships were towed to an Israeli port where the wounded were treated. Israel said it would deport the activists and deliver the ships’ aid to Gaza.
So what do you think of yesterdays events? Are Israel at all justified in their defence or is attacking civilians unconditionally wrong? Please leave your comments below.