Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Tuesday that Israel will not end its blockade of the Gaza Strip.He said that the his government’s stance has not changes, and that the siege will not be lifted as long as Hamas continues to rule Gaza.
Hamas was the overwhelming victor in the 2006 Palestinian legislative and local council elections.
Netanyahu called the soldiers who carried out the violent raid on the Freedom Flotilla “heroes,” and described the Flotilla as “violent and not a flotilla for peace.”
He said that Israel has proof that the activists on the ships carried “saws, axes, knives, clubs, iron bars,” adding that “they probably carried guns.”
Netanyahu said that “he is sorry for the lives lost in the attack” but that he also contacted several heads of to impress upon them that “Israel will not allow the entry of combat tools into Gaza.”
Netanyahu said he spoke to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, and British Prime Minister David Cameron.
The only proof of weapons that Israel has presented so far is a video of a broken slingshot. It is worth noting that axes and knives, some of the weapons the Flotilla activists are accused of brandishing, are normal tools aboard a seagoing vessel.