Lieberman: Gaza flotilla activists blaming Israel for their own failure
Foreign minister says Israel was behind the Greek ban on departure of ships, claims Greek government understands Israel's needs.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Sunday that the Gaza flotilla activists, who had accused Israel of purposely sabotaging their ships, are just trying to place the blame for their failure on Israel.
“The activists are trying to blame someone for their failure – no doubt they have watched too many James Bond films,” Lieberman told Army Radio in an interview. “There is an attempt to evade responsibility for their propaganda, as well as a lack of support from countries around the world.”
Lieberman also said that Israel was behind the Greek government’s decision to forbid the flotilla from sailing to the Gaza Strip. “Things do not just happen on their own,” he maintained, “the Quartet, the governments of Greece, and Cyprus object to the flotilla, understand the needs of Israel, and are acting effectively.”
However, despite the technical difficulties and the Greek government’s decision to forbid the voyage, the activists on board believe that it is only a matter of time before they leave for the Gaza Strip, declaring Sunday that they intend to set sail on Monday.
The Greek authorities have announced that they will not allow the ships to sail, as they believe the mission is “too dangerous.” The captain of the American ship, Audacity of Hope, will appear in court on Tuesday where he is to be charged with defying the Greek ban, as well as endangering the lives of the ship’s passengers.
In the aftermath of the captain's arrest, as well as the forced transfer of the ship to a Greek military naval base, the activists held a press conference wherein they blamed Israel for "exporting the siege on Gaza to Greece” and condemned Greece for “implementing the policies of the Israeli government."
The Middle East Quartet issued a statement on Saturday that pleaded with those interested in transferring humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip to do so "through established channels so that their cargo can be inspected and transferred via established land crossings." The declaration further called on all governments involved to "use their influence to discourage additional flotillas, which risk the safety of their participants and carry the potential for escalation."