J'lem Appeals to Turkey for Flotilla Help

Ambassador Gabby Levy said Israel had conveyed to Turkey that the flotilla was a "provocation" and must be stopped.

Israel's ambassador to Turkey told Turkish daily Hurriyet that Jerusalem had commenced talks with the Turkish government in an attempt to thwart a flotilla planned to sail to Gaza at the end of May.

Ambassador Gabby Levy said Israel had conveyed to Turkey that the flotilla was a "provocation" and must be stopped.

AP

However, according to a report last night on Channel 2, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was considering letting the flotilla into Gaza after its cargo was scrutinized. The Prime Minister's Bureau said last night that an examination of the ships by authorities in a neighboring country before they reached Gaza was one option under study, although it was unclear whether it had been approved or was even feasible.

A few days ago, Levy met with the director general of the Turkish Foreign Ministry and told him Israel saw no problem with the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza legally.

In a briefing for Turkish journalists yesterday in Ankara, Levy said that the message Israel conveyed to Turkey did not indicate whether the flotilla would be stopped by force, saying: "Our position in this matter is known and international law allows us to intervene if the ships pose a security threat."

Levy also said Israel had approached a number of countries about the flotilla, including Greece, the United States, and France.

Earlier yesterday, the public diplomacy team in the Prime Minister's Office met to discuss the planned flotilla, releasing a statement after the meeting that Israel's policy had not changed for now, and if the ships sailed to Gaza they would be stopped by force.