Global outrage over Israeli attack

Reaction from around the world to Israel's attack on Gaza flotilla.

    The flotilla comprised six ships carrying about 10,000 tonnes of aid for Gaza [AFP] 

    Shock and outrage have swept the globe after Israeli soldiers stormed a flotilla of aid ships bound for Gaza.

    International powers have closed ranks in condemning the deadly raid (click on a name to jump to the relevant statement).

    Statement from the Turkish foreign ministry

    The interception on the convoy is unacceptable ... Israel will have to bear the consequences of its actions.

    We strongly condemn it and await an immediate explanation.

    By targeting innocent civilians, Israel has once again clearly displayed that does not value human lives and peaceful initiatives.

    We forcefully condemn these inhumane activities by Israel.

    The incident that occurred in open sea which is a gross breach of international law, could cause irrevocable consequences for our relations.

    We wish to express our condolences to the bereaved families of the deceased, and swift recovery to the wounded.

    Statement from the White House

    US President Barack Obama "expressed deep regret at the loss of life in today's incident, and concern for the wounded" in a phone call to Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister.

    "The president also expressed the importance of learning all the facts and circumstances around this morning's tragic events as soon as possible."

    Ismail Haniya, Hamas leader in Gaza

    The government of Hamas call on Palestinians to carry out a total strike in Gaza and West Bank to show solidarity and protest the Israeli crimes.

    We request emergency session for the UN Security Council, Arab League and Islamic Conference and we demand the Palestinian Authority to stop all forms of negotiations.

    The government decided to grant those on board Freedom ships the medal of honour.

    We appeal to the UN to withdraw from the Quartet.

    The government has decided to name the May 31 "the freedom day". We demand the Arab League to carry out all decisions to stop the siege of Gaza.

    We say to those heroes that the essence of your honourable blood has reached us before the aids you are carrying to us.

    We salute everyone on board the Freedom ships.

    Salam Fayad, Palestinian prime minister

    Israel went beyond all that could be expected.

    This [attack] is a transgression against all international covenants and norms and it must be confronted by all international forums. 

    Statement from the Palestinian presidency

    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemns the crime perpetrated by the occupation authorities against international solidarity activists aboard the Freedom Flotilla.

    The Palestinian leadership is closely following the developments and the President calls on the United Nations to confront Israel, which is disregarding all international laws and norms.

    The attack on the Flotilla is an attack against humanity.

    This incident will have grave consequences in the region and the world.

    Statement from the Arab League

    Secretary General Amr Moussa has called for an emergency meeting at the League's headquarters in Cairo on June 1.
    The attack clearly shows Israel's aggressive nature and its disrespect to international and humanitarian rules and laws.
    We call on the international community to take immediate steps against Israel, a rogue state that practises all forms of terrorism and piracy, and instigates tension and instability in the region and in the middle of the Mediterranean sea.

    Statement from Chinese foreign ministry

    China condemned the raid and urged a "quick response" from the UN Security Council.

    "We were shocked by the Israeli naval attack on the Turkish flotilla carrying humanitarian goods to Gaza which led to severe casualties and condemn it," Ma Zhaoxu, a foreign ministry spokesman, said.

    In New York, a Chinese diplomat said Beijing was prepared to back quick council action on the raid, and urged that Israel's blockade on Gaza be lifted.

    "We support a quick response by the security council," the diplomat, Yang Tao, was quoted as saying by China's state Xinhua news agency.

    Jens Stoltenberg, Norwegian prime minister

    A military attack against civilian activists is totally unacceptable.

    We are shocked at the news that Israeli naval forces have attacked ships bringing humanitarian aid to Gaza.

    An independent international investigation into what has taken place, must be opened as soon as possible.

    Norway's Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre will raise this issue with the UN Secretary General today.

    Statement from Brazilian foreign ministry

    Brazil condemns, in vehement terms, the Israeli action, given that there was no justification for a military intervention on a peaceful convoy of a strictly humanitarian character.

    Brazil considers that the incident should be the object of an independent investigation that should fully elucidate the facts in the light of human rights and international law.

    Saad Hariri, Lebanese prime minister

    The Israeli attack on the aid convoy is a dangerous and crazy step that will exacerbate tensions in the region.

    Lebanon firmly denounces this attack and calls on the international community, notably major powers ... to take action in order to end this continued violation of human rights and threat to international peace.

    Spokesperson for EU's foreign policy chief

    High Representative Catherine Ashton expresses her deep regret at the news of loss of life and violence and extends her sympathies to families of the dead and wounded.

    On behalf of the European Union she demands a full enquiry about the circumstances in which this happened.

    The continued policy of closure is unacceptable and politically counter-productive. She calls for an immediate, sustained and unconditional opening of the crossing for the flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods and persons to and from Gaza.

    Ambassadors from the 27 EU countries

    The EU condemns the use of violence that has produced a high number of victims among the members of the flotilla and demands an immediate, full and impartial inquiry into the events and the circumstances surrounding it.

    EU does not accept the continued policy of closure, it is unacceptable and politically counterproductive, we need to urgently achieve a durable solution to the situation in Gaza.

    Guido Westerwelle, German foreign minister

    I am deeply concerned about the events last night in the waters off Gaza ... These are disconcerting initial reports.

    The foreign ministry is now working to establish the full facts of what happened.

    Diego Lopez Garrido, Spain's secretary of state for EU affairs

    The Israeli storming of a flotilla of activist ships heading for Gaza is unacceptable and very serious event.

    We have have summoned the Israeli ambassador [to Spain] to give us explanations and, of course, we will investigate and will start handling this matter immediately.

    Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iranian president

    [The attack was an] inhuman Zionist regime action against Gazans.

    Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, Emir of Qatar

    The Israeli act of piracy against Arab and foreign activists who tried to break an non humanitarian unjust siege imposed on our fellow citizens in Gaza Strip, for no reason but they exercised their democratic right of choice.

    The crimes purportrated this morning against the civilians supporting the Palestinians remind us of the unjust siege the open bleeding wound in the Strip; and all those who preach freedom, justice and democracy are required now to move and act to break this siege so the bloods of those free men do not go down the drains. 

    This is also message addressed to the Arab states who were brought to the moment of justice by those free men on board.

    Micheal Martin, Irish foreign minister

    I am gravely concerned at the reports emerging of the storming of a Turkish ship this morning by Israeli commandos.

    My department is seeking to establish the full facts of what has occurred and confirm the safety of the eight Irish nationals who sailed with the
    Turkish-led flotilla.

    The reports of up to 15 people killed and 50 injured, if confirmed, would constitute a totally unacceptable response by the Israeli military to what was a humanitarian mission attempting to deliver much needed supplies to the people of Gaza.

    Statement from Britain's Stop The War Coalition

    The action should see Israel condemned under international law.

    Israel has repeatedly flouted law and public opinion worldwide in its treatment of the Palestinians.

    The decision by Israel to attack the flotilla with such loss of human life shows it is arrogant and deadly intent in opposing any aid to the Palestinians.

    Navi Pillay, UN high commissioner for human rights

    I am shocked by reports that humanitarian aid was met with violence early this morning reportedly causing death and injury as the boat convoy approached the Gaza coast.

    The blockade keeps undermining human rights on a daily basis.

    The current situation falls far short of what is necessary for the population to lead normal and dignified lives.

    I condemn once again the indiscriminate firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel.

    Franco Frattini, Italian foreign minister

    Italy deplores the loss of civilian life in Israel's raid on a flotilla of aid ships bound for Gaza.

    Statement from the UN Relief and Works Agency

    We are shocked by reports of killings and injuries of people on board boats carrying supplies for Gaza, apparently in international waters.

    Such tragedies are entirely avoidable if Israel heeds the repeated calls of the international community to end its counterproductive and unacceptable blockade of Gaza.

    William Hague, British foreign minister

    I deplore the loss of life during the interception of the Gaza Flotilla. Our embassy is in urgent contact with the Israeli government.

    We are asking for more information and urgent access to any UK nationals involved.

    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.

    It will be important to establish the facts about this incident, and especially whether enough was done to prevent deaths and injuries.

    This news underlines the need to lift the restrictions on access to Gaza, in line with UN Security Council resolution (UNSCR) 1860. The closure is unacceptable and counter-productive.

    There can be no better response from the international community to this tragedy than to achieve urgently a durable resolution to the Gaza crisis.

    I call on the government of Israel to open the crossings to allow unfettered access for aid to Gaza, and address the serious concerns about the deterioration in the humanitarian and economic situation and about the effect on a generation of young Palestinians.

    Ebrahim Ebrahim, South African junior foreign minister

    The recall of ambassador Ishmael Coovadia is to show our strongest condemnation of the attack. This recent Israel aggression of attacking the aid flotilla severely impacts on finding a lasting solution to the problems of the region

    Ivo Josipovic, Croatian president

    The Republic of Croatia expresses its deep regret over the loss of lives and injuries of civilians resulting from the Israeli military action in the international waters against the ship convoy bound for the Gaza Strip.

    Croatia expresses condolences to the families of the diseased and strongly condemns the use of violence.

    Croatia also expects that the humanitarian aid bound for Gaza will be delivered to the destination and that an investigation into the incident will be conducted in line with international standards.

    Croatia encourages all sides involved in the peace process to make the maximum effort in order to prevent an escalation of tensions and supports the continuation of direct negotiations aimed at reaching a lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian crisis and an establishment of enduring peace in the Middle East.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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