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General defends Israel flotilla attack

26 August 2010 18:10

An Israeli military official strongly defends Tel Aviv’s deadly attack on the Freedom Flotilla aid convoy, which had set sail for the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip.

The May 31 attack in international waters killed nine Turkish activists, who were heading for the impoverished coastal sliver.

Speaking on Thursday before an internal committee probing the incident, Military Advocate Brig. Gen. Avichai Mendelblit said, “Every step taken, be it part of classical warfare or economic warfare” is against the Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas, Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reported.

“As an indirect result, the civilian population does suffer,” he said.

The attack sent shockwaves across the world and gave rise to global calls for an international investigation into the incident.

Tel Aviv recently acceded to an UN probe after invariably rejecting such a possibility.

A report by the Israeli website Ynetnews, however, recently pointed to Tel Aviv’s intentions to prevent the international team from questioning Israelis.

Juan Carlos Monge, a member of the UN fact-finding mission, subsequently confirmed that Tel Aviv has not allowed free access to officials and witnesses.

Tel Aviv enforced a near total blockade of Gaza Strip in June 2007, after Hamas took control of the strip based after democratic elections.

The blockade prevented people living in Gaza Strip to have access to food, fuel and other necessities. Tel Aviv also keeps relief missions away from the enclave, accusing them of “provocation.”

Israel, meanwhile, carries out regular forays into the Gaza Strip, allegedly in response to projectiles fired from the coastal sliver.

Under such accusations, it staged a ground, aerial and naval attack on Gaza at the turn of 2009, killing more than 1,400 Palestinians and inflicted a damage of $1.6 billion on Gaza’s economy.

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