Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon (Likud) on Monday praised the actions of the Israeli Navy in the early morning hours, after naval soldiers took control of the Swedish ship Marianne which was taking part in the third flotilla aiming to break Israel's legal maritime blockade of Gaza.
"I congratulate the navy at the conclusion of their taking control of the ship the Marianne tonight," said Ya'alon. "This flotilla is not humanitarian and doesn't care about the welfare of anyone, the desire of the participants on it was to continue a delegitimization effort against the state of Israel."
The ship is to be taken to Ashdod Port where its contents will be inspected, as Israel maintains its maritime blockade meant to prevent the Hamas terrorist organization that rules Gaza from rearming via sea routes.
Ya'alon said the flotilla "is part of a demonstration of hypocrisy and lies by various sources in the world who prefer to strengthen and support a relentless terrorist organization like Hamas, which instead of taking care of the citizens of Gaza tries to smuggle weapons into the (Gaza) Strip to use them against the state of Israel and its citizens."
Noting the vast quantities of humanitarian materials entering Gaza on a daily basis, he added, "there is no siege on Gaza, and Israel is the only source in the region that allows a fixed entry of different goods and maintains humanitarian projects."
"But we have no intention to allow any source to smuggle weapons that will be turned against us. We are first and foremost obligated to the security of Israeli citizens, and we do that with responsibility and consideration, while observing international law as the only democracy in the region."
Three other ships are still en route to Gaza as part of “Freedom Flotilla 3,” which set sail from Crete on Friday, and has been backed by the European Campaign to Break the Siege on Gaza. Members of the European Parliament, journalists, athletes, artists, as well as radical leftist Israelis will be on board.
Arutz Sheva has exclusively revealed that a pro-Palestinian NGO involved in the flotilla is funded by the French government.
The flotilla is now the third such attempt, with the first being the infamous Turkish Mavi Marmara in 2010 that claimed to be providing "humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza."
The ship repeatedly defied orders to turn around and dock at the Ashdod port and ignored repeated warnings to change course, forcing IDF troops to board the vessel – only to be attacked by Islamist extremists on board wielding knives and metal bars. The wounded soldiers had no choice but to open fire, resulting in the deaths of ten of Islamists on board.
After an investigation, Israeli authorities discovered the vessel to be carrying no humanitarian aid, indicating how the true goal of the provocative move was to open Gaza to free naval access, which it has consistently used to smuggle in weapons to be targeted against Israel.