The Lebanese foreign ministry on Tuesday announced that Israel would suffer the consequences for any attack against Lebanese ships heading for Gaza.
In a letter to the United Nations, Lebanese Foreign Minister Ali Ashami wrote that “Israel will be held fully responsible for any attack on Lebanon.”
"[Lebanon] can not prohibit a ship from leaving its ports if its cargo, passengers and destination all comply with Lebanese law,” he added.
Israel has warned that it would use “all necessary means” to stop a Lebanese Gaza-bound aid flotilla waiting for Lebanon's green light to set sale. The "Julia" ship is currently docked at the port in Tripoli, and has apparently received permission to set sail.
Lebanese Transport Minister Ghazi Aridi said Monday he had authorized the ship to sail to Cyprus, saying that a state of war between Lebanon and Israel prevented the boat from heading directly to Gaza.
"Lebanon and Israel are in a state of war and no ship has ever sailed from Lebanon to Israel," Aridi told Reuters. "Now what the Cypriots will decide, I don't know. Cyprus may not allow them to sail to Gaza," Aridi said.
Last week, Israel's UN ambassador Gabriela Shalev urged the government of Lebanon and the international community to prevent the small group of ships from trying to break the blockade of Gaza, warning that Israel reserved the right to use all necessary means to stop the vessels.
Gabriela Shalev sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warning that the attempt by the organizers to sail from Lebanon and deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza could escalate tensions and affect peace and security in the region.
"Israel reserves its right under international law to use all necessary means to prevent these ships from violating the existing naval blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip," Shalev wrote.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now