Turkey, Israel near clash after terror cell exposed on flotilla. Israel flies embassy families out
June 2, 2010, 7:21 AM (GMT+02:00)
beat up Israel troops
Early Wednesday, June 2, US president Barack Obama stepped into the
fast-deteriorating flotilla crisis to stop it from spinning out of
control. In secret phone calls, he asked Israeli prime minister Binyamin
Netanyahu to release all the remaining passengers without delay as well
as the six ships. He then tried to reason with the incandescent Turkish
prime minister Recep Erdogan, who had just branded the Israeli raid a
Offering deep condolences for the loss of life aboard the flotilla, the
US president said
better ways must be found to bring humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza without undermining Israel's
security. He supported the UN Security Council's call for "a credible,
impartial and transparent investigation" of the event, but refused to
or take the inquiry out of its hands.
from Ankara that Erdogan declined to be
talked round, declaring that if America
did not punish Israel
for insolently "trampling on human honor", Turkey would.
began evacuating diplomats' families from Turkey. Diplomatic and consular staff were left in place in Ankara and Istanbul
and told along with security firms to stand by for departure.
Netanyahu called the second security cabinet meeting in two days after
the first on Tuesday approved the continued blockade of Gaza against all
attempts to break it.
Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad again threatened Israel
with destruction for any action it may take anywhere and its Western
supporters with international trial as war criminals.
Israel is preparing
next steps that would defy President Obama's bid to find a way out of
the crisis between the two former allies. In Jerusalem, Erdogan's accusations were
deemed an unfounded and unjustified assault considering the evidence
that he had consorted with terrorists, including an al Qaeda
offshoot, to bring Israel under pressure in support of the Palestinian
This evidence released by the IDF Monday night, June 1, described how
the Turkish Marmara, the flotilla's lead vessel, had been commandeered
by terrorists indirectly supported by the Ankara government's subsidy to
the Turkish Insani Yardim Vakfi - IHH, which is listed by the American
CIA as an al Qaeda-linked Islamist terrorist organization with bases in
Turkey, Bosnia and Bulgaria.
Those passengers attested to more than a hundred members of terrorist
organizations aboard acting like a quasi-military group with a command
hierarchy, whose leader forced the other four or five hundred passengers
to fall into line behind them. The group was split into sub-sections,
each in charge of a section of the ship before and after it set sail
from Istanbul. Its members were all armed with an assortment of chains,
iron bars and knives as well as night goggles and gas masks.
Although they appeared to hail from different terrorist organizations
from various countries, they were all ordered to say they belonged to
The group kept the ship to a strict military regiment, including
round-the-clock guards in the different sections of the Marmara.
When the ship was brought to Ashdod
port and the passengers removed early Tuesday, the IHH members were
found without identification papers of any kind. Either the Turkish
authorities at Istanbul were instructed
to let them embark aboard the Marmara without documents or they threw
them overboard before the ship docked at Ashdod. Each had an envelope stuffed
with thousands of dollars.
intelligence sources disclose that, when first brought in, the Turkish
terror activists refused to answer questions. By Tuesday nightfall, a
few began talking and admitted to being members of IHH and its ties with
al Qaeda's Balkan outfit. Throughout the interrogations, Israel
intelligence was in contact with colleagues in Western services for help
to identify them by means of fingerprints and other physical features.
Our counter-terror sources report that Israel must now decide
whether to prosecute some of the activists, including Israeli Arabs, on
board the Marmara, on charges of collaborating with an international
During Tuesday, Israel
began deporting the 679 passengers - including 128 for Arab and Muslim
countries through Jordan.
The rest will be flown out within 48 hours. Three Turkish jets were due
to collect them Wednesday. Eight Israel
trucks brought assistance products from the ships to Gaza Tuesday;
another 10 will make deliveries Wednesday.
agencies too have questions to answer - principally, how they
missed spotting the terrorist presence aboard the putative aid-for-Gaza convoy and let a naval force undertake the
mission to divert the ships to Ashdod,
without preparing them for a violent confrontation with a determined,
well-organized group of violent men.