Israel to UN: Lebanon Gaza-bound ship is unnecessary provocation
Israel submits formal complaint to United Nations over Lebanese Gaza-bound ship, which is scheduled to sail with female activists and aid on-board on Sunday.
Israel submitted a formal complaint to the United Nations on Friday over the Gaza-bound Lebanese ship which is scheduled to set sail this week.
The ship, which is set to sail from Lebanon on Sunday, will carry aid and women activists hoping to reach Gaza and breach the Israeli blockade, despite warnings that they will not be allowed to make it past Cyprus.
The ship is an unnecessary provocation, Israel said in the formal complaint and there are other ways of transferring aid to Gaza.
The Israeli delegation to the UN submitted the complaint directly to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as well as the head of the UN Security Council.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Friday that all of the states in the region, whether or not they had diplomatic relations with Israel, understand that these ships bring nothing but damage to the region.
"We hope that this understanding will bring cooperation in preventing provocations," Lieberman said.
Earlier on Friday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak released a statement saying that the ship is a provocation indented to aid a terror organization.
"The ship that is preparing to sail from Lebanon has nothing to do with humanitarianism," Barak said, adding that this activity is intended to aid a terror organization whose goal is to "kill Israeli civilians."
Barak called on the Lebanese government to prevent the ship from leaving its ports.
"If the ship insists on arriving, in opposition to the current blockade, Israel will be forced to stop it and bring it to the port of Ashdod," Barak said.
The ship cannot travel directly to Gaza from Lebanon because Beirut is still technically at war with Israel, forcing the vessel to pass through a third country - in this case, Cyprus - before heading for the blockaded Palestinian territory.
But on Thursday, the Cypriot ambassador to Lebanon told The Associated Press that the boat, the Mariam, will be turned back when it reaches Cyprus.
"We decided that such a ship will not be allowed to enter Cyprus and if such a Gaza-bound ship docks in a Cypriot port the crew and the passengers will be deported to their country of origin," Kyriacos Kouros said.
Sending blockade-busting ships has become a highly charged issue since Israeli naval commandos boarded a flotilla of Gaza-bound ships on May 31, killing nine pro-Palestinian Turkish activists.