News you may have missed #366 (Gaza flotilla edition III)

  • Israel insists Hezbollah members were on flotilla. Israeli officials are privately saying that they had intelligence that Hezbollah operatives were hidden among the crew and passengers of several Gaza Freedom Flotilla ships. The plan, they say, was to board all the ships, bring the flotilla to Ashdod, and then deal separately with the Gaza activists and alleged Hezbollah members.
  • Analysis: Flotillas and the wars of public opinion. In the aftermath of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla massacre, “[t]he Israeli threats against Iran will be seen in a different context, and Israeli portrayal of Iran will hold less sway over the world”, says StratFor.
  • Turkey compares flotilla massacre to 9-11. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu drew a parallel between the Israeli raid on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla and September 11, 2001. “Psychologically this attack is like 9/11 for Turkey,” he said. Meanwhile, as two more aid ships are approaching Gaza, an anonymous senior Israeli Navy commander told The Jerusalem Post that Israel will “use more force next time”.

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Former Mossad officer calls Israel’s flotilla raid ‘stupid’

Victor Ostrovsky

Victor Ostrovsky

A former officer in Israeli intelligence agency Mossad has criticized Monday’s raid by Israeli forces on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla as a failure “on every level”. Victor Ostrovsky, who worked as a case officer for the Mossad during the 1980s, described the raid as an act that was “so stupid it is stupefying”. Speaking to The Washington Post’s Jeff Stein, the former Mossad operative suggested that the early-morning operation, which killed at least 10 and wounded nearly 100 aid volunteers of various nationalities, was probably carried out by Shayetet 13, an elite commando unit of the Israeli Navy. He described Shayetet 13 as “one of the top units in the Israeli military”, which nevertheless failed in its mission to take over the ship convoy without resorting to a bloody mayhem. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #365 (Gaza flotilla edition II)

  • Palestinian Authority to send delegation to Gaza. The Fatah-controlled Palestinian National Authority will send a delegation to Gaza “in the next few days” to try to reconcile with Hamas, in the aftermath of Israel’s assault on a flotilla of ships trying to break the Gaza blockade.
  • Egypt lifts its side of Gaza blockade for aid. The Egyptian government is temporarily lifting its blockade of the Gaza Strip to allow aid into the area, a day after Israel raided an international flotilla carrying supplies to the Palestinian territory and killed nine activists. The key word is “temporarily”.
  • Palestinian Authority to continue talks with Israel. The Palestinian National Authority leadership in the West Bank refrained Monday from suspending the upcoming proximity talks with Israel, despite the uproar over the Israel Navy raid on the Gaza aid flotilla Monday, in which nine pro-Palestinian activists were killed.

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News you may have missed #364 (Gaza flotilla edition I)

  • Israel abducts nine American citizens on Gaza flotilla. As many as nine Americans may have been aboard the Gaza relief flotilla attacked in international waters by the Israeli Navy, and are now being held by Israeli authorities, a US State Department official has said. It is said that among them is former US Ambassador Edward Peck. The White House has so far refrained from issuing a statement on the abducted US citizens.
  • US blocks Security Council criticism of Israeli raid. Israel faced heavy criticism in an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council on Monday, in response to its deadly attack on the aid flotilla trying to breach the Gaza blockade, but attempts to issue a formal statement stalled after the United States rejected the strong condemnation.
  • Australian citizen shot in Israeli raid. Bilateral relations between Israel and Australia, which are already at a low point, are set to worsen after an Australian citizen was shot during the deadly attack by the Israeli Defense Forces on the Gaza relief flotilla on Monday. Australia recently expelled

the Israeli Mossad representative in Canberra, after confirming that the Israeli spy agency had illegally forged at least four Australian passports.

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Could Turkey invoke NATO clause over Israeli attack on flotilla? [updated]

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

Tayyip Erdoğan

IntelNews hears there is some speculation in diplomatic circles that the government of Turkey may try to involve the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in its dispute with Israel, which began after Israeli commandos killed several Turkish citizens in international waters yesterday. Up to 19 civilians are thought to have been killed during an early dawn raid by Israeli Defense Forces commandos on a flotilla of ships carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza in defiance of the four-year-old Israeli blockade. The fact that the deadly raid took place in international waters prompted Ankara to call for an emergency meeting of NATO’s 28 member states. A NATO spokesperson confirmed that ambassadors from all 28 member states, Turkey included, will be attending an emergency meeting today in Brussels, Belgium. Read more of this post

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