Israeli Ambassador: Al Qaeda Tied To Flotilla


orenCBS reports: Pressure is mounting on Israel after that deadly raid on ships trying to breach the blockade of Gaza. Nine people were killed. Israel said its footage shows that commandos acted in self defense, but criticism of the raid is growing. CBS 2 HD was at an East Side where protests were held this afternoon.The controversy over Israel’s raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla has brought demonstrators — on both sides — to the streets. But until an investigation is done President Barack Obama seems to be cutting Israel some slack on the demand by many nations for Israel to end its blockade.

“I think it’s helpful to understand that this is a blockade to not allow weapons to get into the hands of Hamas,” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said.

The Israeli commando raid to stop a flotilla of ships from breaking a blockade of the Gaza Strip has provoked ferocious international condemnation, but President Obama has reacted cautiously. He supported a United Nations call for an investigation, but he did not demand an end to the blockade, which Israel said Tuesday it won’t and can’t do.

“We can’t lift the blockade. It would be rendering our own citizens vulnerable to murderous rocket fire. No Israeli government from any political party could ever take such an effort,” Michael Oren, the Israeli ambassador to the U.S., told CBS 2 HD.

The international investigation will focus on who provoked who the Turkish passengers or Israeli commandos.

Right now it’s he-said, she-said.

Color video by the passengers on board the Turkish ship in international waters shows distraught citizens who, the Free Gaza people said, were assaulted by the soldiers without provocation.

Adam Shapiro said his wife, who was with the Free Gaza movement on another ship, backed up that side of the story.

“They used physical force, punching and kicking at the people on board,” Shapiro said.

Brad Taylor of the Gaza Freedom Coalition here in New York agreed.

“One thing we do have from reliable sources is that the Israelis landed on the boats and they fired on the passengers of the boats upon arrival,” Taylor said.

But that account is contradicted by the Israeli military’s black and white video which shows the passengers on board the Turkish ship attacking the soldiers and they descended from helicopters and even throwing one soldier over the railing.

“We simply came into a war,” one of the commandos said. “They attacked every soldier that came on the ship. They threw soldiers down a level and into the sea, took off their equipment.”

“We found knives. We found iron bars. We found sling shots with glass beads, which can prove lethal and several of our troops sustained gunshot wounds as well,” Ambassador Oren added.

Israel also said terrorists were involved that have ties to al Qaeda.

“I believe that the organization involved in organizing the Turkish part of the flotilla was deeply linked to Islamic extremist organizations in the world,” Ambassador Oren said. “This is not just Israel’s conclusions. There is evidence from the CIA.”

President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke three times Monday. Both Gibbs and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton defended Israeli’s need to protect itself from rockets fired from Gaza into Israeli homes and schools.

“The situation in Gaza is unsustainable and unacceptable. Israel’s legitimate security needs must be met just as the Palestinians’ need sustained humanitarian assistance,” Clinton said.

There are signs Israel is listening. A spokesman for Prime Minister Netanyahu said the government is looking for ways to ease the blockade and get more goods into Gaza.

“Keep in mind that over 10 trucks laden with food and medicine enter Gaza every single day. There’s no shortage of food. There’s no shortage of medicine,” Ambassador Oren said.

While the demonstrations continue continued in New York, pro-Palestinians activists said they have two more boats on the way to challenge Israel’s blockade.

{WCBS-TV/Noam Newscenter}


  1. After the article, Oren said, “Oh by the way, after beating up all the people, their taking care of everyone.”

    I will now walk into the street and beat up the first person I meet… Wait! I’ll call an ambulence when I’m finished with him.

  2. By the way, I may have given the wrong impression.
    By: “I will now walk into the street and beat up the first person I meet”
    I mean the first person that I meet as in someone who wishes to punch me up.