Reactions to the Gaza flotilla raid

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Reactions to the Gaza flotilla raid on 31 May 2010 ranged from fierce condemnation to strong support for Israel.

Israel expressed regret over loss of life in the Gaza flotilla raid, yet stated that the operation was a "clear case of self defense."[1] Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologised for the incident in March 2013, which he said was necessitated by the Syrian civil war.[2] The incident also drew attention to the blockade of the Gaza Strip, which was condemned.[3] Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon called for a full investigation and urged Israel to provide a full explanation. Many countries called for an international investigation and civilian protests erupted around the world. Four countries downgraded their diplomatic relations with Israel and/or withdrew ambassadors: Ecuador, Nicaragua, South Africa, and Turkey. Twelve Latin American countries condemned Israeli actions: Argentina,[4] Bolivia,[5] Brazil,[6] Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. Israel had developed significant bilateral relationships with seven of them. Twenty-three European countries condemned or protested Israeli actions: Albania, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Israel was widely condemned in the Arab world. Thirteen non-Arab Asian countries condemned Israeli actions: Brunei, China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Malaysia, Maldives, North Korea, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Uzbekistan. Israel was also condemned by: Australia, Kenya, New Zealand[7] and South Africa. Eighteen countries expressed regret over the loss of life: Israel, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Canada, Czech Republic, Croatia, Egypt, Estonia, Greece, Holy See, India, Ireland, Japan, Sri Lanka, the United Kingdom, the United States and Uruguay.[citation needed] Unofficial responses included civilian protests against Israeli action following reports of the deaths aboard the MV Mavi Marmara.

The Turkish government and the İHH were also criticised. Several journalists accused Turkey of aligning itself with Iran, Syria, Hamas and Hezbollah, and expressed concern over the contribution of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his government to fueling public rage.[8] Pro-Israeli rallies took place in Los Angeles, Miami, Vienna, Great Britain, Brussels and Israel.[9][10]

Supranational organizations[edit]

 United Nations[edit]

  • The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon condemned the violence,[11] called for "a full investigation to determine exactly how this bloodshed took place" and urged Israel to "provide a full explanation [into the matter]."[12] He also said that the underlying problem behind the raid was the siege of Gaza, which he described as "counter-productive, unsustainable and wrong."[13] On 2 August he announced that a U.N. panel was to investigate, see Gaza flotilla raid.
  • United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay said "I am also registering my shock at reports that humanitarian aid was met with violence early this morning, reportedly causing death and injury as the convoy approached the Gaza coast."[14]
  • The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, and the director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, Filippo Grandi declared that "these tragedies are completely inevitable if Israel does not listen to the callings of the international community to end the unacceptable and counter-productive blockade of Gaza."[15]
  • UNRWA-logo.jpg The Relief and Works Agency also said "we are shocked by reports of killings and injuries of people on board boats carrying supplies for Gaza, apparently in international waters. Such tragedies are entirely avoidable if Israel heeds the repeated calls of the international community to end its counterproductive and unacceptable blockade of Gaza.[16]


African Union (See below).

 Arab League (See below).

Association of Southeast Asian Nations condemned the Israeli attack, called on Israel to lift its blockade of Gaza, expressed solidarity with Turkey, and urged the UN to conduct an investigation.[17]

 European Union (See below).

 NATO held an emergency meeting on 1 June 2010 in response to the attack.[18] Turkey is a NATO signatory, and Article 5 of the NATO charter states that armed attacks against one or more NATO members in Europe or North America will be considered an attack against all of them, and each will take action (including the possibility of armed force) "to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area." Article 6 explicitly mentions the Mediterranean Sea as a location for where attacks will trigger responses.[19] The result of the meeting was that the NATO Secretary General issued a statement expressing "deep regret" over the loss of lives and "As a matter of urgency, [he] also request[ed] the immediate release of the detained civilians and ships held by Israel.".[20]

 Organization of American States (See below).

 Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Secretary General Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu condemned Israel for the attack on the people on the ship.[21]

The Southeast European Cooperation Process, at a meeting of the 13 member countries in June 2010, condemned Israel's raid and demanded an impartial, independent and internationally credible investigation.[22]

Emblem of the ICRC.svg International Committee of the Red Cross said that Israel's blockade violated the Geneva Conventions and stated that it constituted a collective punishment imposed in clear violation of Israel's obligations under international humanitarian law.[23][24]

National reactions[edit]


Israel Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was in Canada during the incident, expressed regret for the loss of life, and said that the event represents a clear case of self-defense of the IDF soldiers,[1][25] he expressed his "full backing" for the military raid and cancelled a scheduled trip to the United States to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama. A spokesman for the Prime Minister was quoted as saying that Netanyahu, "feels he has to be home to deal with this."[26][27] he told a press conference that had Israel not stopped the flotilla from breaking the blockade and entering the Gaza Strip illegally, hundreds of more flotillas would arrive carrying weapons.[28] He stood his ground defending the raid and said Israel will never apologize for the incident.[29] In an address to the country, on 2 June he said "Israel faces hypocrisy and a biased rush to judgment."[30] He further noted that in five of the six vessels in the flotilla, the boarding procedure ended without casualties. "The only difference was with one ship, where extremist Islamic activists, supporters of terrorism, waited for our troops on the deck with axes and knives."[31]

After the boarding took place, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said that the flotilla of ships "was an armada of hate and violence." He added that the flotilla attempt to reach Gaza was "a premeditated and outrageous provocation" and claimed that its organizers had ties not only to Hamas, but also to global Jihad, and al Qaida.[32]

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman called the international community "two faced" and said Israel was being condemned for its military acts of defense.[33] Lieberman was said to have been "reminding" the UN Secretary General that in the past month alone over 500 people were killed in various incidents in Thailand, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and India, which had allegedly been "ignored" while Israel was being condemned for its "unmistakably defensive actions." Israel later rescinded its criticism of India.[34]

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni said that the coalition and the opposition are united in support of the defense forces, and that she is ready to assist the government in the political and explanatory aspects of the flotilla incident.[35] She, however, disagreed with what she considered Netanyahu's lack of policy: "The world is certainly hypocritical, but that doesn't absolve us from forming a policy. This is more than an isolated incident. Anything that happened when Israel had a different standing in world opinion would have had a different result. Now, any isolated incident becomes a global drama, and it's becoming worse. We are reaching the stage when Israel's ability to defend itself will no longer exist." She said the lack of policy in the aftermath of the incident would jeopardize Israel's legitimacy and backing from the international community, which she says for years had insisted on not recognizing Hamas until it recognizes Israel and accepts past agreements, and had accepted the closure of Gaza while "it was clear that Israel wanted an agreement with pragmatic forces, with the legitimate Palestinian government." She also said that IDF soldiers acted appropriately, and supports setting up an internal investigation committee with the United States.[36]

Ambassador to the U.K., Ron Prosor, said: "It’s obvious – and I won’t beat around the bush on this – that this wasn’t successful and I think it clearly took up an issue that should have been solved differently." [However, the] other side [behaved] appallingly. [Israel was in a] war situation with terrorists. The loss of life was tragic and I’m not just saying that. When you look at the footage ... it’s obvious that the reaction is self—defence to try and save your life."[37]

The Israeli high court rejected a petition seeking to overrule Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein's decision to halt the police investigation into the attack.[38] On 3 June, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that the soldiers responded in self-defense, and that the Gaza blockade and the raid of the ships were legal.[39]

Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe Ya'alon, a former IDF chief of staff, announced that the operation was a failure and instead of distributing citations Israel was busy trying to understand why basic operating protocol was not implemented.[40]


Welcoming activists from Gaza in Istanbul's Taksim Square, on 2nd of June 2010 following the Gaza flotilla raid.

Turkey Turkish Deputy Prime Minister, Bülent Arınç said “In the name of the Turkish people and of our government, we strongly condemn these attacks”[41] and he announced that Turkey canceled an U-19 football game against Israel.[42] He added that no one should think that Turkey would declare war on Israel.[43]

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that the raid was "state terror" and decided to return from a state visit to Chile.[44] Erdoğan spoke to the AK Party Group at the Turkish Parliament, he said "Turkey's friendship is as strong as its animosity".[45] He also strongly rebuked Israel's action saying even pirates had a code of conduct. Erdoğan upped the ante, in a speech to legislators saying Israel should be "punished" for its "bloody massacre" amid a warning that no one should test Turkey's patience. He said "It is no longer possible to cover up or ignore Israel's lawlessness. The international community must from now on say 'enough is enough'. Dry statements of condemnation are not enough ... There should be results." He said the Israeli action was an attack "on international law, [and] the conscience of humanity and world peace." He even said that Israel acts as it does because it has powerful friends.[46] He called for Israel to lift the "inhuman siege" of the Gaza Strip, which he referred to as an "open-air prison", and announced that he was considering sending the Turkish Navy to escort any future flotillas or to visit Gaza himself, in order to break the blockade. He also urged the international community to impose sanctions on Israel.

President Abdullah Gül said that "From now on, Turkish-Israeli ties will never be the same. This incident has left an irreperable and deep scar". He also claimed that "Turkey will never forgive this attack".[47] Gül compared Israel's actions to those of al-Qaeda, and demanded that Israel apologize and pay compensation, and also urged Israel to thoroughly investigate the incident and lift the blockade of Gaza.[48]

A Turkish Foreign Ministry statement condemned Israel,[49] and the foreign ministry was reported to have summoned the Israeli ambassador to lodge a protest.[50] Turkey recalled its ambassador from Israel.[51] Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu told the UN Security Council that Israel has "lost all legitimacy" as a result of the raid.[52] He called those who died "martyrs."[53] He said that "It is no longer possible to cover up or ignore Israel's lawlessness. It is time for the international community to say 'enough is enough'." He also said that Turkey was ready to normalise ties if the blockade on Gaza was lifted because "it was time calm replaces anger." That, in turn, was accompanied with statement saying the injured would stay in Tel Aviv hospital under the care of a Turkish doctor, "We will not leave them (the wounded) to the mercy of anyone."[54] The Parliament of Turkey unanimously adopted a resolution calling for the United Nations Security Council to impose sanctions on Israel, and called the attack a "blatant violation of the UN Charter and international law".[55]

İlker Başbuğ, Chief of the Turkish Armed Forces held a phone conversation with Gabi Ashkenazi, the Israeli Chief of Staff and called the raid unacceptable and indicated such actions could hold very serious consequences.[56] Turkey said that all future aid vessels would be escorted by the Turkish Navy.[57]

Leaders of opposition parties in Turkey also condemned the raid on Turkish ships. The leader of MHP, Devlet Bahçeli, said the attack was an aggression which should be never accepted by the Turkish nation.[58]

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, chairman of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), supported Turkish government's efforts for a UN Security Council resolution to condemn Israeli government[59] and he said "We said we have given our support to the prime minister, as he said the attacks would not be left without a response. We said the CHP would support solutions which are concordant with our national interests".[60] However, he also criticized the Turkish government and told Turkish television, “The European Union and the United States consider Hamas a terror organization. We must be careful.” He demanded that the government release communications with Israel prior to the incident, suggesting it allowed the flotilla to proceed despite knowing that violence was likely.[8] Erdogan dismissed Kılıçdaroğlu as an Israeli “advocate” after Kılıçdaroğlu recited Torah's the eighth commandment, which says ‘Do not steal’ and the ninth commandment says ‘Do not lie”.[61]

Arab League[edit]

 Arab League called an emergency meeting on 1 June to discuss what it called Israel's "terrorist act" against the flotilla.[62] Secretary General of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, stated that "we condemn this crime, taken against a humanitarian mission and people. They were trying to help people. They were not on a military mission. Everyone should condemn this."[63]

  • Palestinian National Authority Palestinian Authority president, and Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) since 11 November 2004, Mahmoud Abbas said that "Israel has committed a massacre",[64] and declared a three-day state of mourning. Palestinian government official Mustafa Barghouti stated that Israel's actions would lead to the international boycott growing in strength.[65] Salam Fayyad said "Israel went beyond all that could be expected. / This [attack] is a transgression against all international covenants and norms and it must be confronted by all international forums."[16]
    • Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said, "We call on all Arabs and Muslims to rise up in front of Zionist embassies across the whole world".[66]
  • Algeria Algeria condemned "in the strongest terms" the Israeli onslaught against the fleet of international aid for Gaza and requested a "strong and unanimous" response from the international community.
  • Bahrain The government of Bahrain stated that it "strongly condemns the Israeli navy’s barbaric attack on the aid flotilla in international waters, an attack which caused the deaths of many innocent victims. The Israeli use of force against civilians, including women, children and elders from several countries who sought to provide humanitarian aid to those people besieged in the Gaza Strip, must be condemned, is unacceptable, and is contrary to the basic laws and standards governing international waters."[67]
  • Comoros The Consulate of The Comoros in Istanbul condemned the raid.[68]
  • Djibouti At the UN Human Rights Council, Mohammed Siad Doualeh of Djibouti expressed deep concern over the killings[69]
  • Egypt The Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak denounced Israel's use of "excessive and unjustified force" while the Foreign Ministry summoned the Israeli ambassador to express its condemnation.[63] The Egyptian President also ordered the opening of the Egyptian border to Gaza on Tuesday to allow humanitarian and medical aid into the Gaza Strip[70][71]
  • Iraq An Iraqi government official, MP Khairallah al-Basri (a member of current premier Nouri al-Maliki's State of Law Coalition), condemned the attack and described it as a "new humanitarian disaster," as well as, "a violation of human rights and a breach of international standards and norms."[72]
  • Jordan The Jordanian government called the raid a "heinous crime". Minister of Communication and Media Affairs Nabil al-Sharif called the Israeli action an "ugly, unacceptable crime" and said that Jordan held Israel "completely accountable and responsible for any harm caused to the Jordanians on board."[12]
  • Kuwait Kuwait National Assembly Speaker Jassem Mohammad Al-Kharafi condemned the "heinous" Israeli attack on the convoy. He urged the United Nations to ensure the safety of those on board the convoy and to lift the blockade of Gaza.[73] The Kuwaiti parliament has called an emergency session to discuss the attack.[12]
  • Lebanon Saad Hariri, the Prime Minister of Lebanon, said, "The Israeli attack on the aid convoy is a dangerous and crazy step that will exacerbate tensions in the region. Lebanon firmly denounces this attack and calls on the international community, notably major powers... to take action in order to end this continued violation of human rights and threat to international peace."[12]
    • The Lebanese opposition party and paramilitary group Hezbollah issued a statement denouncing the "horrible terrorist crime committed by the Zionist occupation forces against innocent civilians on a human[e] mission to express solidarity with the Palestinians besieged in the Gaza strip." Adding that this was apparently proof of the "inherent evil in Zionists which targets all human beings regardless of their confession and race as long as they're ready to stand by righteousness in the face of the persistent Zionist terrorism against the Palestinians." And that "this atrocious crime is the materialization of the inherent force of tyranny which has escalated in the past years due to the unlimited Western support to the Zionist scheme, and due to the wrong political bargaining of some Arab regimes."[74]
  • Mauritania Mauritania Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement "strongly" condemning the Israeli attack, calling it a "cowardly act, a clear defiance to the international community and the continuing rejection of Israel to peace and coexistance." It urged the international community "to intervene to clarify this hideous crime, end Israel occupation in all Arab territories and stop the blockade on Gaza."[75]
  • Morocco Moroccan Foreign Minister Taieb Fassi Fihri stated that "the Kingdom of Morocco strongly denounces the disgraceful attack of Israel against the humanitarian convoy en route to Gaza."[76]
  • Oman Oman stated that the attack "violates international law."[77]
  • Qatar Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani condemned Israel’s deadly raid against a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, branding it an "act of piracy."[78] At the Doha Forum 2010, he stated that "The crime perpetrated this morning against civilians supporting the Palestinians reminds us of the unjust siege, the open, bleeding wound in the Strip. And all those who speak for freedom, justice and democracy must do something now to break the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip so that the blood of these free people will not go in vain. This is a message to the Arab countries that now face the moment of truth." He said the blockade was imposed because "the people of Gaza practised their democratic right in the elections." The Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabr Al Thani, lauded the call by the Emir and reiterated Qatar’s condemnation of the Israeli assault. He called the attack a premeditated assault on innocent people and a flagrant breach of international law and conventions. Asking "who would pay for the blood of those who were killed yesterday," while holding the international community responsible for tolerating such "barbaric practices" that could have grave repercussions for the region. He also expressed Qatar’s solidarity with Turkey and stand supporting justice, though he expressed doubt over whether the Arab peace initiative would now go ahead with indirect and direct negotiations after "Israel was opposing peace."[79]
A cartoon by Carlos Latuff depicting the Gaza flotilla raid. It was published in Arab News.[80]
  • Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabian King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud chaired a Saudi Cabinet session which "denounced and condemned the massacre committed" and "described the attack as aggressive and reflects Israel's inhuman practices, flagrant defiance of the whole world and international law, insistence to starve the Palestinian people and prevent all kinds of humanitarian relief, and indulgence in killing innocent people."[81]
  • Sudan The Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement saying the "Sudan government, strongly condemning the repeated Israeli crimes, calls on the international community, including governments, organizations and peoples, to come together, more than [at] any time before, against the state of the Zionist enemy and to show the real power of law to prevent Israel from what is committing of crimes against humanity and genocide against the Palestinian people."[82] The National Assembly of Sudan issued a statement saying "the parliament condemns the Israeli attack against international activists who were trying to deliver food for the civilians in Gaza", adding "the attack constitutes a major crime against civilians and should be condemned". The Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement on behalf of the government, saying it was "strongly condemning the repeated Israeli crimes" and "calls on the international community, including governments, organizations and peoples, to come together, more than any time before" to show "the real power of law" to stop the Israeli regime from committing what it described as "crimes against humanity and genocide against the Palestinian people". It called on the international community to unite to end Israel's "enjoy[ment of] protection and support of influential countries" and what it sees as "exposed silence on the part of the United Nations".[83]
  • Syria Syrian Foreign Ministry issued a statement condemning Israeli assault on the Gaza-bound international aid flotilla and called it a "bloody and heinous piracy crime committed by Israel in the Mediterranean international water."[84] The Syrian government has called a meeting of the Arab League to discuss the attack.[12]
  • Tunisia The Foreign Affairs Ministry of Tunisia issued a statement saying "While reiterating its condemnation of all forms of collective punishment, Tunisia urges the international community, particularly influential forces to immediately intervene to lift the unjust blockade imposed on the Palestinian people in Gaza and to put an end to their suffering". Tunisia added that it was "reaffirm[ing] its rejection of these hostile practices that are an affront to the international community and a violation of agreements and international and humanitarian resolutions, which threaten to further complicate the situation in the region and undermine any hope of peace".[85]
  • United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates condemned Israel's violent attack on the Freedom Flotilla. Shaikh Abdullah said that "the attack on civilians traversing across the sea to deliver aid to the Palestinian people strongly defied international laws" and called for a United Nations led investigation.[86]
  • Yemen The Parliament of Yemen strongly condemned the Israeli attack and demanded for "an Islamic army to encounter the Israeli arrogance."[87]

In a joint-statement, Syrian President Bashar al—Assad and Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri "condemn[ed] the heinous crime committed by Israel through the brutal attacks on unarmed civilians on board the Freedom Flotilla." While warning that Israel’s "violations of basic humanitarian norms and international laws threatens to plunge the Middle East into a war which will not only affect the region."[88] After reconfirming bonds with Turkey and harshly criticizing the Israeli siege, al-Assad joint Ergodan in proposing a new initiative aimed at having the blockade on Gaza lifted "once and for all." His plan involved "a number of political ideas for regional and international activity aimed at lifting the siege." Qatar is slated to take part in the initiative's implementation.[89] At the conference, Erdogan urged Arab nations to unite and step-up efforts to end Israel's blockade on the Gaza Strip. He said "Are we going to remain silent over the murder of nine people? We can't turn a blind eye to this banditry in international waters. This can't continue as it is. Peace and stability will not come to the region as long as the blockade of Gaza persists. Painful experience has made it clear that no [regional] country will fully achieve prosperity and security as long as the Palestinian-Israeli conflict remains unresolved."[90]


  • African Union condemned Israel for the killings.[91]
  • Gabon The representative of Gabon at the UN Security Council expressed his shock at the events. He further called upon Israel to lift the blockade of Gaza, and called all parties to refrain from violence.[92]
  • Kenya The Kenyan government issued a statement condemning the killing of nine activists as "grossly callous and a brazen violation of international law."[93]
  • Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic The government of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic condemned "in the strongest terms the abject and shameful attack of the Israeli army against the Flotilla of Freedom. By carrying out the bombing of a fleet carrying humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza, deprived of everything including medication, Israel commits an unforgivable act contrary to international law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees the protection of citizens around the world", the statement added.[94]
  • South Africa South Africa Foreign Ministry issued a statement "strongly condemning all military aggression by Israel against innocent civilians, including those in the occupied West Bank and Gaza."[95] On 3 June, South Africa recalled its ambassador from Israel, and the Israeli ambassador was summoned to the Foreign Ministry for a reprimand.[96][97]


 Organization of American States

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States said "Nothing can justify excessive use of military force to attack, with serious loss of human lives, to a disarmed civil convoy". Also he warned of a violence increase risk in the Middle East, Mr. José Miguel Insulza asked "to avoid actions which can means to increase the situation that, once again, threatens seriously the peace process in the Middle East".[98]

  • Argentina Argentina's Foreign Affairs Ministry (Cancillería) issued a statement condemning the attack by Israeli forces, called for a full investigation and deeply regretted the loss of human lives. It also asked for an immediate stop to acts of violence in the area, and the lifting of the blockade.[99]
  • Bolivia Bolivia Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement calling the attack "atrocious," adding that the actions were a flagrant violation of international law and called for an investigation.[100]
  • Brazil Brazil's Ministry of External Relations issued a statement strongly condemning the Israeli action, calling for an independent investigation and the end of the blockade of the Gaza Strip. Brazil also expressed deep concern over the well-being of one of its citizens, Iara Lee, that was on board the flotilla. They further said that they had instructed the Permanent Representative of Brazil to the United Nations to fully support an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council to discuss the Israeli military action,[101] and that the Ambassador of Israel in Brasília had been summoned to explain the events.[102]
  • Canada The Canadian prime minister's office released a statement saying it "deeply regrets" the loss of life in the Israeli raid on an aid flotilla sailing to the blockaded Gaza Strip and that they "... are currently looking for more information in order to shed light on what exactly happened".[103] The Edmonton Journal asserted its view that Canada's "cautious" approach was the right one as "tragedies involving loss of life in the Middle East invariably provoke reflexive responses from opposing camps." This was despite the arrest of Canadian Kevin Neish.[104]
  • Chile The Chilean Foreign Ministry said in a statement that "Chile condemns the use of the forces in any form."[105] Chilean Senator Alejandro Navarro, who was scheduled to be aboard the Gaza aid convoy, denounced the attack as "cowardly and disproportionate against unarmed civilians."[106] He further stated that Chile "condemns Israel and this event will have multilateral consequences because it set a serious precedent."
  • Ecuador Ecuador President Rafael Correa said he recalled his ambassador to Israel for consultations after which the Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry said the ambassador would leave Tel Aviv immediately "as an act of protest against the attack which left civilians killed and injured."[107]
  • Mexico Mexico Secretariat of Foreign Affairs issued a statement "strongly condemning the Israeli attack on civilian vessels in international waters carrying humanitarian aid." It called for a full investigation.[108]
  • Nicaragua The Nicaraguan government called the Israeli actions "a clear violation of humanitarian and international law," and suspended diplomatic ties with Israel in protest of the raid.[109]
  • Paraguay Paraguay Foreign Affairs Ministry issued a statement "condemning" and "strongly rejecting" the Israeli attack on the convoy and supported the United Nations' call for a full investigation.[110]
  • Peru Peruvian Foreign Affairs Ministry issued a statement condemning Israeli violent attack on the human assistance convoy. Peru disapproves the use of military force based on international rights principles and calls for a full investigation. Peruvian government exhorts to restore dialogue and negotiation in order to reach permanent peace agreements and made an urgent call to the Government of Israel to allow the free flow of humanitarian aid to the people in Gaza Strip[111]
  • United States The United States Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said that "United States supports the United Nations Security Council's condemnation of the acts leading to this tragedy, and we urge Israel to permit full consular access to the individuals involved, and to allow the countries concerned to retrieve their deceased and wounded immediately. We support in the strongest terms the Security Council's call for a prompt, impartial, credible, and transparent investigation."[112] A White House spokesman cautiously said that the United States "deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries sustained, and is currently working to understand the circumstances surrounding this tragedy."[12][113] President Barack Obama told his counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu that he deeply regretted the loss of life in the Israeli raid urged him to quickly get to the bottom of the incident. The White House summarized the President's conversation saying "The president expressed deep regret at the loss of life in today's incident, and concern for the wounded."[114] In the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell co-authored a letter signed by 85 other senators arguing for the legality of the blockade and the raid and calling on the President to support Israel.[115] Rep. Anthony Weiner of the U.S. congress criticized the flotilla, saying that it had was supported “by some of the worst enemies of peace in that region, and some of the worst enemies, quite literally, not only of Israel, but of the United States as well. And I mean Turkey, Iran, Hamas. These are not entities that were looking for some peaceful resolution here,”.[116] “The complicity of Turkey in launching a flotilla to challenge the blockade in Gaza, the ensuing violence that occurred, the grievous loss of life is deeply troubling to those of us who have supported the U.S.-Turkish alliance in the past,” Rep. Mike Pence said on the House floor. “Turkey needs to decide whether its present course is in its long-term interests, but America will stand with Israel.”[116] In an interview with Charlie Rose, Vice President Joe Biden defended Israel's decision to intercept the pro-Palestinian flotilla bringing humanitarian aid to the coastal territory, but did not defend the Israel Navy raid itself. He stated that "you can argue whether Israel should have dropped people onto that ship or not[, but Israel] has a right to know whether or not arms are being smuggled in."[117] Mike Hammer, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, said: "The current arrangements are unsustainable and must be changed."[118] The city of San Francisco's Board of Supervisors was considering a non-binding resolution introduced John Avalos and Sophie Maxwell calling for "condemning the Israel Defense Forces' military attack on the Freedom Flotilla", while also calling on the US Congress and Obama to continue working to bring peace and security to the Gaza region.[119]
  • Uruguay Uruguay's Foreign Affairs Ministry condemned the Israeli navy's action, expressed sorrow for the loss of life and demanded a "quick independent investigation and called on the Israeli government for full cooperation."[120] The ministry has also expressed its solidarity with the families of the victims and is asking for the siege on Gaza to end.[121]
  • Venezuela Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez condemned Israel's "attack on peace activists". He called the attack "an act of war undertaken by the Israeli army against defenseless civilians" who were trying to break through Israel's "criminal blockade."[122] At a rally, Chavez described Israel as "cursed terrorist and murderous state" and further alleged that “Israel is financing the Venezuelan opposition. There are even groups of Israeli terrorists, of the Mossad, who are after me trying to kill me.”[123]
Non-OAS members
  • Cuba The Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the Israeli action, calling it a "criminal attack" and expressed its "most energetic condemnation." Cuba calls for the lifting of the Gaza blockade and reaffirms its solidarity with the Palestinian people.[124] Former Cuban President Fidel Castro has condemned Israel's attack on the Freedom Flotilla as "Nazi fascist fury." Adding that the Israeli commandos who boarded the ships fired "frenetically" at the aid workers. he then asked "Is it possible [for Obama to be re-elected] without the Pentagon of...Israel...use nuclear weapons against Iran?"[125]


  • Bangladesh Bangladesh's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has stated that "Bangladesh is shocked and saddened at the unwarranted attack on unarmed civilians on board the Mavi Marmara on 31 May 2010, and the resultant loss of lives." The Ministry also said that Bangladesh expresses its profound condolences and sincerest sympathy to the bereaved families, and joins in prayer for the eternal peace of the departed souls. Bangladesh also called for collective international action to end the siege immediately and to allow the people of Palestine to return to normal life.[126]
  • Brunei Brunei Foreign Minister Pengiran Muda Mohamed Bolkiah condemn the recent Israeli raid on Gaza-bound Turkish aid ships. In a joint statement with other ministers of the second Asean-Gulf Cooperation Council (Asean-GCC), he condemn the act of violence in international waters and expressed condolences to the victims of the raid and expressed solidarity with the people and government of Turkey and other countries. The ministers also urged the immediate release of those who are still held hostage by the Israeli authorities and called for the removal of the Israeli blockade in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, in particular United Nations Security Council Resolution 1860. With the recent raid, Israel has once again created additional hurdles to the Middle East peace process which is currently entering a critical phase with the launch of "proximity talks". The ministers agreed there is a need for international cooperation to ensure that Israel is held accountable for its action in accordance with international law and urged the United Nations to conduct a thorough investigation of the Israeli attack in order to ensure its accountability.[127]
  • China China Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu condemned Israel's raid on the international convoy and urged Israel to seriously implement UN Security Council resolutions and improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza.[128]
  • India India's Ministry of External Affairs released a statement strongly condemning the attack by Israeli forces. "India deplores the tragic loss of life and the reports of killings and injuries to people on the boats carrying supplies for Gaza. There can be no justification for such indiscriminate use of force, which we condemn. We extend our sympathies to the families of the dead and wounded. It is our firm conviction that lasting peace and security in the region can be achieved only through peaceful dialogue and not through use of force."[129]
  • Indonesia Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono condemned Israeli action.[130] Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa also condemned the action and said that the Israeli blockade in Gaza is a violation of international law.[131]
  • Iran Iran Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei condemned Israeli actions, and said is Israel is more brutal than Fascists.[132] Iran president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad said that the incident was an "inhuman action of the Zionist regime against the Palestinian people" and that it would bring the regime "closer than ever to its end."[133] The Iranian government has called for a boycott of Israel.[134] Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Secretary Saeed Jalili underlined the necessity for coordination among regional and Islamic states to confront the Zionist regime of Israel effectively.[132] Iran's Foreign Ministry condemned the raid, saying "the incident once again revealed the criminal and war-mongering nature of the Zionist regime." Iran also called on the UN Security Council and the OIC to take swift punitive action against Israel.[135] At an Asian security summit in Istanbul, Turkey on 8 June 2010, Ahmadinejad stated that the raid "showed violence and hatred and war-mongering attitudes. The devilish sound of the uncultured Zionists was coming out from their deceit. ... They were holding up the flag of the devil itself." He also claimed that the raid would accelerate the end of Israel, stating that "[The raid] has actually rung the final countdown for its existence. It shows that it has no room in the region and no one is ready to live alongside it. Actually, no country in the world recognizes it, and you know that the Zionist regime is the backbone of the dictatorial world order."[136]
  • Japan Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement stating that it is "shocked at the report that people aboard boats carrying supplies to the Gaza Strip were victimized as a result of confrontation with Israel Defense Forces. We deeply deplore the casualties and the injuries of many people. Japan condemns the violent acts which caused this tragic incident." It also expressed deep condolences for the affected families and urged a full investigation into the matter.[137]
  • Malaysia Malaysia Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak stated that "in the name of the Malaysian government and the people strongly condemn this inhumane, brutal aggression by the Israeli regime on the flotilla which is bringing humanitarian aid to the beleaguered people of Gaza." He added that ""the whole world should condemn the action of this cruel regime" and "hoped the incident will result in a censure on Israel."[138] Malaysia's government also urged Israel not to take any action that could harm people aboard the Malaysian-funded MV Rachel Corrie which would carry its citizens. Foreign Affairs Minister Anifah Aman said Israeli authorities should ensure a safe passage for the vessel to deliver its humanitarian cargo.[139]
  • Maldives The Maldives Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement expressing its great sadness at the incident and extending condolences to those affected. It condemned "in the strongest possible terms" the attack on civilians. The Maldives joint calls for an international enquiry and for those responsible to be held accountable. It also urged an immediate end to the blockade of Gaza.[140]
  • North Korea North Korea's Foreign Ministry condemned Israel for having "mercilessly killed or wounded dozens of civilians aboard the boats." It went on to call the attack a "crime against humanity perpetrated at the U.S. connivance and under its patronage and a blatant challenge to the Arabs including Palestinians and the Mideast peace process." The statement also "expresses full support and solidarity with the cause of the Palestinians and other Arab people[s]."[141]
  • Pakistan Pakistan strongly condemned the Israeli action, calling it a cruel act and an open violation of international laws and ethics. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi stated that "Pakistan strongly condemns this incident. Our point of view was that there was no moral or legal reason for this attack". The Pakistani government also expressed deep concern over the well-being of Pakistanis and journalists on board and Pakistani missions are in touch with Arab countries of the region to get information about the status of the Pakistani nationals in the flotilla.[142] President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister of Pakistan Yousuf Raza Gilani strongly condemned the Israeli actions. They further said that the Government of Pakistan is exerting all its efforts to find out what had happened to the Pakistanis aboard the flotilla.[143]
  • South Korea The Government of South Korea downgraded Israeli President Shimon Peres' visit to 'working' status.[144]
  • Sri Lanka The Government of Sri Lanka condemned the attacks saying it deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries resulting from this operation and condemned the indiscriminate use of force to prevent the carriage of supplies for people under occupation, and reiterates its conviction that sustainable peace and security in the region is achievable only through peaceful dialogue.[145]
  • Tajikistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan condemned the Israeli attack on humanitarian aid convoy in international waters and called for international investigation of the incident.[146]
  • Uzbekistan The foreign minister of Uzbekistan condemned the Israeli attack, and called on Israel to lift the blockage of Gaza.[147]
  • Vietnam Vietnam cancelled scheduled visit of Israeli President Shimon Peres after the flotilla incident.[148]

A summit at the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia a statement agreed to by 21 of the 22 participants at the conference (Israel being the 22nd) read "All member states, except one, expressed their grave concern and condemnation for the actions undertaken by the Israeli Defence Forces." In response Turkish President Abdullah Gul said the near-unanimous condemnation showed Israel was isolated and that it "will suffer the consequences for its mistake against Turkey."[149]


 European Union

The President of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek called it "an unjustified attack" and said that "it is a clear and unacceptable breach of international law, especially the fourth Geneva Convention. We demand that Israel explain its actions immediately, with the utmost transparency, and guarantee full accountability by co-operating with any full inquiry that is to be set up".

    • Other members of the European Parliament described Israel's actions using words such as "obscene", "kidnapping," "revulsion," and even "terrorism".[150] EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton demanded Israeli authorities mount a "full inquiry" into the deaths on the flotilla.[12][151] She also appealed for the opening of the border so humanitarian aid can get through.[152] The ambassadors of the 27 EU members said "The EU condemns the use of violence that has produced a high number of victims among the members of the flotilla and demands an immediate, full and impartial inquiry into the events and the circumstances surrounding it. EU does not accept the continued policy of closure, it is unacceptable and politically counterproductive, we need to urgently achieve a durable solution to the situation in Gaza."[16]
  • Belgium Belgium's foreign minister, Steven Vanackere, called the use of Israeli force "disproportionate"[153] and "invited the Israeli ambassador to explain how the events unfolded."[154]
  • Bulgaria The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry demanded the immediate release of two Bulgarian journalists travelling in the convoy.[155] In addition, Bulgaria "slammed" the attack, saying "nothing can justify the violence that resulted in the killing of over 10 people on board one of the ships." It called for an investigation.[156]
  • Cyprus In Cyprus, Israel's ambassador was summoned to the Foreign Ministry to explain the operation. Cyprus stated its belief that NGOs must be allowed to do their work freely and lawfully. Further, it called for the lifting of the blockade of Gaza.[157]
  • Czech Republic Czech foreign ministry spokesman Philip Kanda said Prague is not planning to issue separate statements to the event because it agrees with the observations of the EU foreign minister Catherine Ashton.[158]
  • Denmark Denmark's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lene Espersen, described the confrontation as strongly worrying and has summoned the Israeli ambassador to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to explain the incident.[159]
  • Estonia Estonia Minister for Foreign Affairs, Urmas Paet, condemned the incident and expressed their condolences to the loved ones of the casualties, and wished for a quick recovery for all the injured in the incident. Estonia also called for a thorough investigation of the incident, and expressed concern over the situation.[160]
  • Finland Finland Foreign Minister, Alexander Stubb, expressed "shock" at the Israeli commando raid and called for an explanation of the incident and on the circumstances surrounding it. The Israeli Ambassador to Finland was called to the Foreign Ministry over the incident. He demanded Israel immediately re-open Gaza border crossings.[161] He stated that "All violence directed at civilians must be condemned."[162]
Demonstration in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on 31 May 2010 following the Gaza flotilla clash.
  • France French President Nicolas Sarkozy condemned "the disproportionate use of force" against the flotilla.[163] French Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Bernard Kouchner was "profoundly shocked" by the incident and demanded an inquiry. Kouchner stated, "Nothing can justify the use of violence such as this, which we condemn."[164]
  • Germany German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle voiced "deep concern" at reports of deaths,[165] and called for a "full and transparent investigation". German Chancellor Angela Merkel's office said Israel's response to the ships was disproportionate,[166] and reaffirmed the German government's demand for lifting the blockade of the Gaza strip.[167]
  • Greece Greek Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Dimitris Droutsas summoned Ali Yahia, the Israeli Ambassador in Greece to inquire about the incident and convey the annoyance of the Greek government; he stressed that "nothing could justify the use of such violence."[168] After the meeting he announced the discontinuation of the joint Greek-Israeli military exercise "Minoas 2010" as well as the postponement of the scheduled visit of the Israeli Air Force commander to Athens. In a press release issued later in the day the Foreign Ministry described the operation as "incomprehensible" and "utterly alarming" and the resulting loss of life as something that "cannot be justified by any claim whatsoever."[169] The ministry's Crisis Handling Unit was activated to handle the ongoing situation.[170]
  • Republic of Ireland Irish Taoiseach Brian Cowen condemned the attacks, describing them as "very serious" and stated that he feels the blockade action was a violation of international law. He also stated that people are allowed to receive humanitarian assistance and that there should be an international investigation into the matter, describing the Israeli action as "disproportionate".[171] On 1 June, Cowen told Dáil Éireann that there would be "serious consequences" if Irish citizens had come to any harm at the hands of Israel.[172] Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin said he was "gravely concerned"[173] about the reports of at least ten people being killed. No Irish citizens were harmed in the attack. The Israeli ambassador to Ireland, Zion Evrony, was summoned to the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs,[174] after appearing on the radio programme Today with Pat Kenny where he explained "This is what soldiers do," and said it was "a sad result" that "a few [activists] were killed."[175] Martin sent his condolences to the Turkish government on the loss of their citizens and to Turkish families who were affected by the tragedy.[176] Martin was reported to be "furious" that Israel had kidnapped Irish citizens in international waters and brought them to Israel where they would then be deported. He said "They were essentially kidnapped from international waters, taken into Israel. And now they are being asked to sign a document almost confirming that they entered illegally. And we think that is unacceptable. I have said this to the Ambassador – it makes no sense. These people should be released unconditionally."[177]
    • Two members of Dáil Éireann, Chris Andrews and Aengus Ó Snodaigh were refused access to the flotilla by the Cypriot authorities and had to abandon plans to travel with aid workers.[171]
    • Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness (also the Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland) said "The Rachel Corrie contains only humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza. It is being crewed by Human Rights activists. The Israeli government know this to be the case. They know the Rachel Corrie and her cargo presents no threat to Israel. The human rights activists onboard the boat had made it clear they had no issue with UN officials checking the cargo before they proceeded to Gaza. The Rachel Corrie should have been allowed to proceed to Gaza without Israeli aggression. The decision of the Israeli government to board the Rachel Corrie and divert her away from Gaza is a completely unjustified and unacceptable use of force. This is an attack on an Irish flagged vessel and it demands a strong response by the Irish government. Sinn Féin have already made clear that part of this response must be the expulsion of the Israeli Ambassador from Ireland."[178] The party's Spokesperson for International Affairs Aengus Ó Snodaigh and Gerry Adams also called for the expulsion of the ambassador.[179][180] This was after Snodaigh expressed disappointment at not being allowed to go with the flotilla by Cypriot authorities.[181] The Irish activist Shane Dillon was sent back to Ireland, though six other Irish activists – including Dr Fintan Lane and Fiachra O Luain – were detained in the Beersheba detention camp.[182]
  • Italy Italy condemned the Israeli military operation, and supported the UN Security Council resolution calling for an investigation and the release of detainees.[183] Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini condemned the killing of civilians, saying "I deplore in the strongest terms the killing of civilians. This is certainly a grave act". Italy also called for an EU investigation.[184] Earlier Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Alfredo Mantica had called the international flotilla to the Gaza Strip a "provocation". However, he had not justified the Israeli course of action. "The manner of the response is debatable, but to think that it would all pass without Israeli action is naiveté on the part of the organizers. I believe someone wanted to see how harsh Israel's response would be," he had said.[185]
  • Lithuania The Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement expressing "deep concern" over the Israeli action, offered condolences to the families of the victims and called for an investigation.[186]
  • Luxembourg Luxembourg Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jean Asselborn, "strongly condemned those responsible for the attack on the flotilla" and demanded an international investigation to ascertain responsibilities.[187]
  • Netherlands Dutch foreign minister Maxime Verhagen has stated that "Israel had, based on military law at sea, the authority to inspect the cargo of the convoy carrying aid supplies for Gaza". In reaction to questions by members of the Dutch Parliament, he wrote: "The risk of breaking a blockade lies with those who do so, provided that the blockade was declared properly". He also stated that "investigation, in the first place by Israel itself, must answer what exactly happened."[188]
  • Poland Poland’s Foreign Minister, Radek Sikorski said "The whole world calls for a clarification. The next step will depend on how well, and convincingly, the Israeli authorities explain what happened." He, however, did not say whether Poland would summon the Israeli ambassador to provide explanations.[152]
Students from the University of East Anglia outside the Forum in Norwich.
  • Portugal Portugal Foreign Ministry issued a statement expressing "deep concern" over the incident, condemned the "excessive use of force against civilian targets" and called for an "impartial" investigation.[189]
  • Romania The President of Romania Traian Băsescu told the departing Israeli government Oren David that Romania was concerned about the raid on the flotilla that might result in negative consequences for the Middle East Peace Process.[190] On 23 June 2010 at a summit of Balkan countries in Istanbul Romania was one of the countries that strongly condemned Israel's attack on the aid flotilla as well as the loss of life.[191][192]
  • Spain Spain condemned the attack,[193] has summoned the Israeli ambassador for questioning.[12] The Foreign Minister, Miguel Angel Moratinos, decried the excessive use of force against an humanitarian convoy, and recalled that the European Union had already requested an end to the blockade.
  • Sweden Sweden summoned the Israeli ambassador, Benny Dagan, to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.[194] The Foreign Affairs Secretary Frank Belfrage and the Minister for Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt called the Israeli raid "completely unacceptable".[194][195][196] On 2 June, it was reported that as a reaction to Israels raid on the flotilla, the Swedish Football Association would attempt to call off an upcoming qualifying game in Israel for the 2011 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship.[42] On 5 June it was reported that a one-week ban of Israeli goods would be launched by the Swedish Port Workers Union.[197][198]
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom's Prime Minister David Cameron has condemned the Israeli attack, called it "completely unacceptable",[199] and told Israel to "respond constructively" to "legitimate international criticism".[200] Foreign Secretary William Hague said he "deplored" the loss of life and called on Israel to open border crossings for aid access.[201] Scotland'sDeputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Israel's actions had been "rightly condemned around the world". She called on Israel to lift its blockade of Gaza, and expressed her "deep sadness" at the loss of life on the flotilla.[202] In Belfast, protests were held in front of the City Hall to condemn Israel's actions and to call for an end to the siege of Gaza.[203]
Non-EU members
  • Albania The Albanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the violence, considering it "unjustifiable" and calling on the "Israeli authorities to investigate immediately (sic) this incident, which has tensioned (sic) the regional and global stability."[204]
  • Azerbaijan The Azerbaijani president, Ilham Aliyev condemned the attack: "We condemn Israel’s deadly attack on the Turkish ship carrying aid to the Gaza Strip and express our support for Turkey." He also offered his condolences to the Turkish government and citizens on behalf of the Azerbaijani people.[205] The Azerbaijani Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the attack. He noted that created situation caused anxiety in Azerbaijan: "Azerbaijani side considers that the conclusion of humanitarian action with human losses is a fact giving rise to anxiety. This incident must be investigated accurately in a short time and the offenders must be punished."[206]
  • Belarus Belarus' Press Secretary Andrei Savinykh condemned the Israeli attack,[207] stating that Belarus is "very concerned" by the situation, "deplores" the use of force and considers Israel's actions to be "a gross violation of international law." He stressed the need for a full investigation into what happened and for all interested countries to calm tensions so that comprehensive peace talks could begin.[208]
Bård Vegar Solhjell speaking to approximately 2000 demonstrators at the Israeli embassy in Oslo, Norway, following the Gaza flotilla clash.[209]
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnian representative at the UN Security Council, Ivan Barbalić, condemned the Israeli attack "in the strongest possible terms." He called for an investigation and for Israel to lift the blockade of Gaza.[92]
4000 people gathered on Gustav Adolfs Torg in Gothenburg, Sweden, in support of Ship to Gaza[210]
  • Croatia Croatian President Ivo Josipović, expressing deep regret over the loss of lives and injuries, gave condolences to the families of the deceased, and strongly condemned the use of violence.[211] Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration expressed regret over the loss of lives and gave condolences to the families of the deceased. It additionally underscored the need for refraining from escalation of the conflict, calling for an investigation which will meet international standards, and expressed hope that this incident will not hamper the recently restarted Middle East peace process. Furthermore, it emphasized the need for humanitarian aid access to the civilian population of the Gaza Strip.[212] As a member of NATO, Croatia activated an emergency decision-making mechanism.[213]
  • Iceland The Foreign Minister of Iceland, Össur Skarphéðinsson, condemned the attack saying that "Gaza is in fact a giant prison where international law is violated. This must stop,"[214] and "We support the demands that have been made, e.g. by the EU, that this matter be thoroughly investigated. It is intolerable that Israel repeatedly exerts force in this way."[215]
  • Norway Norway's Prime Minister, Jens Stoltenberg, said "a military attack against civilian activists is totally unacceptable."[216] Foreign Minister, Jonas Gahr Støre, has called for a meeting with the Israeli ambassador to Norway.[217] Protests also spontaneously erupted in a number of cities throughout Norway.[218][219] A group of 12 Norwegian Members of Parliament wore Palestinian scarves to a session of the Norwegian Parliament as a "show of solidarity with the Palestinian people."[220] On 4 June, the Norwegian military canceled a seminar that included a speech by an Israeli soldier.[221][222] It was reported immediately after the raid that 43 percent of Norwegians either would like to boycott Israeli products, or were already doing so.[223]
  • Russia Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev called for a thorough investigation of the incident and said that, in any case, the deaths of people are irreversible. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin condemned the assault and expressed concern that it was conducted in international waters.[224] On 8 June, Putin condemned the acts and said it has to be investigated specially, especially since it was on international waters.[225] The Foreign Ministries of Russia and the EU adopted a joint statement concerning the flotilla attack, which correlates with the UN Security Council activity in the situation.[226] Russia's Foreign Ministry expressed "condemnation and profound concern" over the incident and called for a full investigation. It also called the use of "use of arms against civilians and the detention of the vessels on the high seas without any legal grounds constitute a gross violation of generally accepted international legal norms."[227] The head of the Russian State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee, Konstantin Kosachev, called for an "urgent meeting" of the Middle East Quartet to discuss the incident.[228]
  • Serbia The Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the excessive use of force which caused the deaths of innocent civilians. It also endorsed the UN Security Council's call for an immediate and impartial investigation into the incident.[229] On 23 June 2010 at a summit of Balkan countries in Istanbul, Serbia was one of the countries that strongly condemned Israel's attack on the aid flotilla as well as the loss of life.[191][192]
  • Switzerland Switzerland called for an international inquiry and summoned the Israeli ambassador.[230]
  • Vatican City The Holy See expressed "great concern and pain" about the incident.[231]


  • Australia Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd and MPs[clarification needed] condemned the Israeli raid.[232] Rudd stated "The Australian government condemns any use of violence under the sorts of circumstances that we have seen."[46] Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it was "deeply saddened by loss of life following the incident."[233] Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, speaking during a media conference, said the Government was "deeply concerned" by the turn of events and called for "a full investigation" and for the results to be brought before the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).[234]
  • New Zealand New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully condemned the Israeli attack, and urged restraint from all parties. "Representatives from our Mission in New York [are] attending the emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council and we will continue to follow their deliberations carefully."[235] Israel's ambassador to New Zealand Shemi Tzur was later summoned to a meeting with McCully who stated that: "I left him in no doubt about the seriousness of the Government's concerns in relation to the incident off Gaza".[236]

Non-governmental organizations[edit]

International Human Rights and advocacy organizations[edit]

  • Amnesty International accused Israel of using excessive force, and claimed that the level of lethal force used was out of proportion to any threat that could have been posed by the activists. Amnesty International called on Israel to make public the rules of engagement used by the commandos, and to launch an "immediate, credible and independent investigation".[237] Amnesty International also called for an international inquiry, and called on Israel to invite UN experts to examine the incident.[238]
  • The Foreign Press Association, which represents hundreds of journalists in Israel and the Palestinian territories, has complained the Israeli military seized video and equipment from dozens of reporters on board the main ship. The FPA says the military is now selectively using footage to bolster its claims that commandos opened fire only after being attacked. FPA also criticized Israel's use of captured material without permission.[239]
  • Human Rights Watch called for a "full, impartial investigation" into the incident, and for the international community to make sure that any inquiries meet basic international standards, and that any wrongdoers were brought to justice. Human Rights Watch also called on Israel to grant all detained and injured flotilla members immediate access to legal counsel and their families, and to disclose the identities of all those injured and killed.[240]
  • Reporters Without Borders called for the release of the names of all journalists held after the raid. They said there were at least 15 foreign journalists in the convoy.[241] A statement said "We deplore this assault, which left a heavy toll of dead and wounded. The journalists who were on the flotilla to cover the humanitarian operation were put in harm’s way by this disproportionate reaction. We urge the Israeli authorities to release the detained journalists and allow them unrestricted access to the Gaza Strip. The international community needs accurate information about this Palestinian Territory.[242]
  • Stop the War Coalition issued a statement saying "The action should see Israel condemned under international law. Israel has repeatedly flouted law and public opinion worldwide in its treatment of the Palestinians. The decision by Israel to attack the flotilla with such loss of human life shows it is arrogant and deadly intent in opposing any aid to the Palestinians."[16]
  • The President of the Algerian MSP Bouguerra Soltani, whose wife is part of the delegation, announced the dispatch of a parliamentary delegation to Turkey to try to get information about the 32 Algerians aboard the convoy.[243] In an interview with Al-Aqsa TV, Imam Ahmad Ibrahimi, the Coordinator of Algerian Delegation to Flotilla, stated (as translated by MEMRI) that "we felt no fear whatsoever of those brothers of apes and pigs. By Allah, I loathed them before, and my hatred of them has only grown, not because they punished and humiliated us, but because I had thought them to be worthy enemies, but it turns out that they are too despicable even to be called our enemies, because they are not our equals. They are cowards...Our hatred for these people is so intense that we wished, at those moments, that we could have been bombs, and blow up among those brothers of apes and pigs."[244]

Israeli and Jewish organizations[edit]

The Australian Jewish Democratic Society said that "Unless the Israeli government can convincingly back up its claims that the Gaza aid convoy was not a project for delivering humanitarian aid to Gaza, but in reality a front for violent action, it invites the condemnation of everyone who supports negotiated conflict resolution and reinforces the view that Israel's professed support for human rights is a sham." [245]

B'Tselem demanded that an independent and effective investigation conducted by non-military officials be launched immediately. B'Tselem stated that among the issues that needed investigating are whether proportionate force was used, whether the soldiers were trained and equipped to cope with this type of event, what open-fire regulations were given to soldiers, and whether alternative options were considered.[246]

Jews for Justice for Palestinians said, "Jews For Justice For Palestinians (the largest alternative voice of Jews in the UK or Europe) utterly condemns Israel’s aggressive military interception of the peaceful Free Gaza aid flotilla. We hold Israel responsible for the tragic deaths and injuries which this action caused."[247] − * German Jewish group Jewish Voices for a Just Peace decided to send a boat with school supplies and humanitarian aid to break the Gaza blockade. Kate Katzenstein-Leiterer, a leader of the group, said instead that they wanted to help preserve the State of Israel by showing that its current policies were wrong.[248] Due to excessive interest, the group subsequently decided to arrange a second vessel.[249]

Rabbi Dovid Feldman of Neturei Karta said: "Authentic Orthodox Jewry worldwide decries unequivocally the cold-blooded slaughter carried out by the Zionist occupational forces against innocent, peaceful and freedom-loving noble activists committed to peace and human rights. This brutal attack took place in international waters on ships bearing humanitarian aid for our brethren, the Palestinian residents in the besieged Gaza Strip. It was an explicitly illegal act which breaches, in a serious manner, basic G-dly (sic) human rights, justice and law. This kind of behavior is, unfortunately, only to be expected from the Zionists. Their state's entire existence was built from the very start on Heresy, robbery and murder. They oppressed, murdered and expelled an entire people from its land." Adding that "We find it imperative to clearly declare that the State of "Israel" does not represent the Jewish people, and certainly not the Jewish religion. They have no right to speak in our name, nor in the name of the holy Torah. They profane the Holy Land with their abominations, slaughters and countless other actions that emanate from this illegitimate State. Furthermore, the actual existence of this State is illegitimate as the holy Torah strictly and explicitly forbids any Jewish rule over the Holy Land." Neturei Karta protests took place in Ottawa, Montral, Washington, DC, New York City, Jerusalem and London. Neturei Karta Rabbis visited the injured in Turkey.[250]

Commercial organisations[edit]

  • The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), an association which represents 75 percent of the world's merchant fleet, has expressed "deep concern" over the boarding by Israeli forces in international waters. "The fundamental principles of international law, safe passage and freedom of navigation in international waters, must always be upheld by all of the world's nations", the organization said.[251]

Religious leaders[edit]

  • Imam Fethullah Gülen, a U.S.-based Turkish cleric, criticized the flotilla for trying to deliver aid without Israel's consent. He said the organizers' failure to seek accord with Israel before attempting to deliver aid "is a sign of defying authority, and will not lead to fruitful matters...What I saw was not pretty. It was ugly."[252]
  • David Hatchwell Altaras, vice president of the 10,000 member Jewish community in Madrid, criticized the Spanish government’s "knee-jerk" reaction to slam Israel’s seizure of the Gaza flotilla. He added that the Spanish government "should be more even-handed and take more distance...the IHH activists attacked Israeli forces in order to have a specific outcome."[253]



A survey of Israeli Jews published in the Maariv on 2 June showed 94.8 percent agreeing that it was necessary to stop the boats, with 62.7 percent saying it should have been handled in a different manner. Only 8.1 percent thought Netanyahu should resign. The newspaper didn’t say how many people were surveyed or give a margin of error.[254]

Criticism within Israel on the flotilla operation has focused largely on the execution of the raid and not the blockade.[254] The Israeli media, which had initially supported the IDF action and corroborated the IDF account of the incident, later criticized the operation as having been badly handled. Haaretz said that the Israeli army had fallen into a trap set by the flotilla organizers. While Israeli soldiers were supported, the government was chastised for putting Israel in a compromising situation.[255]

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz had a headline initially reading "Botched raid on Free Gaza Flotilla,"[256] the online headline was later changed to "Israel fears diplomatic backlash in wake of Gaza flotilla deaths",[257] while Maariv went with "Flotilla Fiasco."[258]

Israeli journalist Gideon Levy remarked in an opinion article, "Again Israel will pay a heavy diplomatic price, once which had not been considered ahead of time. Again, the Israeli propaganda machine has managed to convince only brainwashed Israelis, and once more no one asked the question: What was it for? Why were our soldiers thrown into this trap of pipes and ball bearings? What did we get out of it?"[259]


Ferhat Kentel from Taraf, compared the victims of the Gaza flotilla raid to Hrant Dink. [260] Soli Özel, an instructor of international relations at Bilgi University, a columnist for Habertürk newspaper and a frequent contributor to The Washington Post's "Post Global" in Istanbul said:

There is now civilian blood between the two countries. The natural arc of relations will have to change.[261]

Cüneyt Ülsever, a commentator in the daily Hürriyet, has criticized the İHH, saying that “People will understand very soon that the İHH is harming Turkey, and warned that the effect of the crisis would be to persuade the West that Turkey is aligning itself with the likes of Iran, Syria, Hamas and Hezbollah.[8][262]

United States[edit]

The Washington Post and CBS News reported that American lawmakers in both parties expressed support for Israel in the wake of growing international condemnation following the raid. New York Democratic Party Representative Anthony Weiner said "This was about instigating an altercation and they succeeded."[263] [264] Another New York Representative, Gary Ackerman, told the United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs he "strongly support[s] Israel’s right to defend itself, and the right of Israel’s naval commandos, who were executing a legal mission, to defend themselves by using force when they were brutally attacked." Politico reports.[265] According to Fox News United States Senator John McCain said pro-Palestinian activists "wanted to provoke an international crisis...and they obviously succeeded," while he also questioned President Obama's commitment to Israeli security in the wake of the current crisis.[266]

The Los Angeles Times asked several questions regarding the responsibility for the clash, while saying there was still much to be learned about the incident. While saying "As is so often the case with events involving Israelis and Palestinians, the competing narratives allow supporters of almost any position to hear what they want to hear." The editorial made its own affirmation that "This much, however, seems undeniable: Israel has done itself serious damage. [This was because] the decision to deploy armed troops to obstruct what was apparently a nonviolent mission and then, even if you accept Israel's version of events, to allow them to be drawn into a battle that left so many civilians dead, will serve as a further blow to the ailing peace process and as more fodder for those who argue that Israel's 'disproportionate' use of force is evidence of a cavalier attitude toward human life." While admitting the raid would not focus new attention on the blockade itself, the editorial also concluded in saying that "This page supports Israel's right to self-defense. We support reasonable measures to stop cross-border shelling and to keep weapons from illegally entering Gaza by land or sea. We oppose the Hamas government's consistent call for the destruction of Israel. But we also want to see an end to the blockade, which amounts to collective punishment of about 1.5 million Palestinians."[267]

The New York Times quoted a statement allegedly from the flotilla organizers saying "A violent response from Israel will breathe new life into the Palestine solidarity movement, drawing attention to the blockade." They then said "There can be no excuse for the way that Israel completely mishandled the incident." And that the raid turned out to be "a grievous, self-inflicted wound. It has damaged Israel’s ties with Turkey, once its closest ally in the Muslim world; given the Hamas-led government in Gaza a huge propaganda boost; and complicated peace talks with the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank." It also asks "Why did Israel, which has blocked some ships but allowed others to pass, decide to take a stand now? Did it make a real effort to find a compromise with Turkey, which sanctioned the flotilla? [While] Israel has a right to stop weapons from going into Gaza, but there has been no suggestion that the ships were carrying a large cache." The Times concludes that "needs to state clearly that the Israeli attack was unacceptable and back an impartial international investigation. The United States should also join the other permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – Britain, France, Russia and China – in urging Israel to permanently lift the blockade."[268] Another editorial said "Turkey is understandably furious" but "Turkish officials have let their anger and rhetoric go way too far... Israel deserves to be criticized for the flotilla disaster. But gratuitously stoking anti-Israeli sentiment is irresponsible and dangerous."[269]

The San Francisco Chronicle called the said a "disaster on every level." It also contended that Israel's "enemies could not have scripted a more bungled operation:...setting off recriminations, policy breaches and deepening isolation for Israel... The peace process, already in the cryogenic stage, is at full stop...The episode reruns old stories. Palestinian sympathizers wanted a confrontation over Israel's blockade of Hamas-run Gaza...and ignored offers to dock in Israeli ports and ship the aid by land. ... Another horrifying Mideast moment will live on to paralyze progress in the future... The purpose was clearly to call attention to the blockade, viewed as essential by Israel to cap terrorism, and regarded as harsh and unsuccessful by critics." It concluded that "There is no other course than to admit a serious mistake. Without one, the region is condemned to a future without change or hope."[270]

In an op-ed piece the Wall Street Journal said "Israel's actions in boarding the flotilla of ships bound for the Gaza Strip were entirely justified and perhaps even unavoidable." Although, they add the caveat that "Unfortunately they turned into a tactical and strategic fiasco that does further damage to the Jewish State's tattered international reputation."[271] A separate Wall Street Journal article emphasized Israel's need to keep advanced weaponry from getting to Hamas: "Those who denounce Israel today ought to at least propose how they mean to keep arms from going to Hamas—or else consider the role their denunciations will play in encouraging another war."[272] Another article stated "the more facts that come to light about the flotilla, its passengers and their sponsors, the more it seems clear that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Ergodan's government, far more so than Israel's, must be held to account for Monday's violent episode." After describing the links between the Islamic charity that organized the flotilla and terrorist groups, the Journal states "No wonder that Israel was not prepared to let this flotilla break its blockade of Gaza. ... Israel is entirely within its rights to prevent Hamas from linking with groups suspected of supplying arms and money to terrorists. Israel had also gone out of its way to give Turkey fair warning..." The Journal goes on to note that Turkish foreign policy under Erdogan has become progressively radical and out of line with the U.S.[273]

The Washington Post said the raid was a "diplomatic debacle for the government of Binyamin Netanyahu." And that "Though the investigations to come will find many to blame, it's already clear that Israel's response to the pro-Palestinian flotilla was both misguided and badly executed." The editorial also said that "We have no sympathy for the motives of the participants in the flotilla... What's plain is that the group's nominal purpose, delivering 'humanitarian' supplies to Gaza, was secondary to the aim of provoking a confrontation." While saying "Yet the threat to Israel was political rather than military. So far there's been no indication the boats carried missiles or other arms for Hamas." It continued "Mr. Netanyahu's aim should have been to prevent the militants (sic) from creating the incident they were hoping for. Allowing the boats to dock in Gaza, as Israel had done before, would have been better than sending military commandos to intercept them. The fact that the soldiers who roped down from helicopters to the lead Turkish ferry were unprepared to subdue its passengers without using lethal force only compounded the error." It concluded that "The prime minister (Netanyahu) is in a deepening hole; his only way out is to move to the center."[274] Another editorial stated that while "Western governments have been right to be concerned about Israel's poor judgment...[they] ought to be at least as worried about the Turkish government...which...has shown a sympathy toward Islamic militants and a penchant for grotesque demagoguery toward Israel that ought to be unacceptable for a member of NATO." In reference to Turkey's statement that "Israel had no just cause to clash with 'European lawmakers, journalists, business leaders, and a Holocaust survivor,' the article noted that "there was no fighting with those people, or with five of the six boats in the fleet. All of the violence occurred aboard the Turkish ferry Mavi Marmara, and all of those who were killed were members or volunteers for the Islamic 'charity' that owned the ship." The editorial claimed that the İHH "is a member of the 'Union of Good,' a coalition that was formed to provide material support to Hamas and that was named as a terrorist entity by the United States in 2008." It then said that "The relationship between Mr. Erdogan's government and the İHH ought to be one focus of any international investigation into the incident." The article claims that "In the days since an incident that the İHH admits it provoked [Erdogan] has done his best to compete with Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hezbollah's Hassan Nasrallah in attacking the Jewish state [and calling] Israel's actions 'state terrorism.' [and Israel] merciless, rootless state." The editorial labeles Davutoglu's comparison saying "this attack is like 9/11 for Turkey" as an "obscene comparison." The article attacked Erdogan in saying his "attempt to exploit the incident comes only a couple of weeks after he joined Brazil's president in linking arms with Mr. Ahmadinejad, whom he is assisting in an effort to block new UN sanctions." The article mentions that Turkey's moves came despite the Obama administration overtures. "What's remarkable about his turn toward extremism is that it comes after more than a year of assiduous courting by the Obama administration, which, among other things, has overlooked his antidemocratic behavior at home, helped him combat the Kurdish PKK and catered to Turkish sensitivities about the Armenian genocide. Israel is suffering the consequences of its misjudgments and disregard of U.S. interests. Will Mr. Erdogan's behavior be without cost?"[275]

USA Today said "In practical terms, the argument hardly matters. By opting for an assault on the six-ship convoy trying to break a 3-year-old blockade of Gaza, Israel handed its opponents a victory they could not have achieved by other means and simultaneously left itself, the United States and the struggling Mideast peace process with a huge problem....Israel, however, remained adamant, implausibly casting the flotilla organizers as a mortal threat." They drew parallels saying "The pity is that the Israelis so lacked the same prescience, remarkable in light of their own history. No event was more important to the formation of Israel than the confrontation 63 years ago between the ship Exodus..." They believed that as a "smart solution to the current impasse...Israel should allow humanitarian aid into Gaza on the condition that cargo first be inspected for weapons. Palestinians should accept that restriction. The United States and United Nations should try to ensure its enforcement."[276]


The Toronto Sun said the attack damaged Israel's reputation and suggested it "might have wanted to rethink the orders that led to Monday's fatal clash." It reasoned that this, along with the Dubai assassination of a Hamas leader, "left a trail of evidence a mile wide, to put a dent in the reputation of the country’s legendary intelligence and security operations. " Adding that "For the peace process, this story feels relevant in ways that may not be obvious right away, as though something has shifted. It’s not as simple as Israel stumbling into a PR disaster or lost international support, as some would like to make it." However, it also said that "For the Palestinians, it underscored the division between blockaded, Hamas-run Gaza and the West Bank, which has fared better in so many ways for not being Hamas-run Gaza."[277]


The Times published an article by former Spanisn Prime Minister José Maria Aznar saying the world must support Israel because "if it goes down, we all go down. In an ideal world, the assault by Israeli commandos on the 'Mavi Marmara' would not have ended up with nine dead and a score wounded. In an ideal world, the soldiers would have been peacefully welcomed on to the ship." In the article Aznar criticised Turkey, for placing Israel "in an impossible situation" in which it would have to either give up its security or face world condemnation. Aznar concluded that Israel is the West's first line of defense, and must be protected.[278]

The Financial Times called the attack a "brazen act of piracy," that dealt a blow to the legitimacy of Israel's struggle. The paper continued that "Israel claims the activists had links with extremist groups and that some attacked Israeli soldiers with knives and sticks (and in some accounts the odd light firearm). Even if true, this would not justify the illegal capture of civilian ships carrying humanitarian aid in international waters, let alone the use of deadly force."[279]

Günther Nonnenmacher of the editorial board of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wrote that Israel seems to have lost all sense of proportion and would not pay attention to public opinion. The raid on the convoy would constitute a new level of escalation.[280]

The Croatian daily Jutarnji List said Croatia was in an unenviable position because "On the one hand, the country feels responsibility towards Israel and its politics have always reflected that responsibility. On the other hand, Turkey is an important ally in the region with its influence on the reform processes in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and as a growing trading partner for Croatia."[213]

The Wall Street Journal said that skepticism concerning the IHH version of events on the Mavi Marmara “appears to have accelerated as a result of unexpected criticism of the IHH’s actions from Turkish moderate Islamic leader Fethullah Gülen.” Turkey's Cuneyt Ulsever, a commentator in the daily Hurriet, wrote that “People will understand very soon that the IHH is harming Turkey, and warned that the effect of the crisis would be to persuade the West that Turkey is aligning itself with the likes of Iran, Syria, Hamas and Hezbollah.[8] + The Wall Street Journal said that skepticism concerning the IHH version of events on the Mavi Marmara “appears to have accelerated as a result of unexpected criticism of the IHH’s actions from Turkish moderate Islamic leader Fethullah Gülen.” The religious conservative daily Vakit published on its front page the names and photographs of eight newspaper columnists who censured the government’s handling of the flotilla affair, calling them "Spin doctors who shoot bullets at the aid ship".[8]

Artistic response[edit]

Pixies, Gorillaz, and Klaxons were among the bands scheduled to play Tat el Aviv's Pic.Nic festival. According to festival organizers, all three groups cancelled their plans in relation to the naval raid. In addition Gil Scott-Heron cancelled an appearance.[281][282]

The Brazilian film maker Iara Lee wrote about her experience on the ship in an article in the San Francisco Chronicle in which she said "Israel's powerful navy could have easily approached our boat and boarded it in broad daylight or pursued nonviolent options for disabling our vessel. Instead, the Israeli military launched a nighttime assault with heavily armed commandos...I feared for the lives of my fellow passengers as I heard shots being fired on deck, and I later saw the bodies of several people killed being carried inside...When it was over, the Israeli soldiers commandeered our ships, illegally kidnapped us from international waters, towed us to the port of Ashdod, and arrested all of us on board." Concluding that " What happened to our flotilla is happening to the people of Gaza on a daily basis. It will not stop until international law is applied to all countries, Israel included."[283]

Meg Ryan and Dustin Hoffman canceled their appearances in 2010's Jerusalem Film Festival. According to associate director of the festival, Yigal Molad Hayo, neither gave the political climate as a direct reason for canceling their participation in the festival but it became quite clear that was the reason.[284]

Comedic response

Latma TV, an initiative of the Center for Security Policy, a staunchly conservative organization[285] located in Washington, D.C., produced a video entitled We Con the World and set to the tune of the 1985 hit, "We Are the World". The video, which is published on the internet, satirizes the political intentions of the activists aboard the MV Mavi Marmara with up to a dozen members of the so-called "Flotilla Choir"— some wearing a variation of traditional Arab dress—sing satirical verses, such as: "There's no people dying, so the best that we can do is create the biggest bluff of all."[286][287] The Israeli government's press office later apologized for circulating a link to the video that mocked activists on board, and clarified that it does not represent Israel's official stance.[288] The creation of the film was initiated by Caroline Glick, the deputy managing director and columnist for the Jerusalem Post.[289][290]


Following upon the event and the various video clips presented by both Turkey and Israel, Iranian filmmaker Saeed Faraji created Freedom Flotilla, a 56 minute documentary film about the event as his first feature length film project. The film aired in three parts on November 16, 17 and 18, 2010[291] and on Iran Television Channel 1 and Channel 4.[292][293]

Public opinion and political activism[edit]


One of the earliest Israeli demonstrations (31 May 2010). Demonstrators in front of Israeli Defence Ministry protest against IDF actions toward "Flotilla". Signs read in Hebrew "IDF-terror in uniform" and "Israel-state of terror".

Throughout 31 May, demonstrators gathered in the Middle East, Europe, North America and South Asia following the attack.[294]

In Turkey, more than ten thousand people gathered to protest in Taksim Square in central Istanbul on the night of 31 May 2010.[294] Hundreds of protesters then tried to storm the Israeli consulate in Istanbul. A second day of protests took place across Turkey; protestors marched in front of Istanbul's Israeli consulate, and several people were arrested in Ankara after encountering police in front of the Israeli Embassy there.[295] On 1 June, Azerbaijani protesters gathered outside the Turkish embassy in Baku to condemn the Israeli attack. The protesters were carrying the Azerbaijani and Turkish flags. They also carried placards saying "Israel is a barbarian" and "Israel is a murderer," and chanted slogans such as "Azerbaijan and Turkey: one nation, two states", "Turkey’s grief is Azerbaijan’s grief" and "Down with Israel." The protesters stated their support for the Turkish government and people.[296]

In Tel Aviv, leftist and rightist demonstrators clashed on 5 June 2010, as more than 6,000 citizens gathered to protest the Israeli raid against the aid convoy.[297]

During a demonstration at a checkpoint between Israel and the West Bank, which involved stone-throwing by Palestinian youths, Israeli soldiers fired tear gas canisters at demonstrators. An art student from New York, who according to a witness was not involved in any violence, lost an eye when one of the canisters fractured parts of her skull.[298]

In the Arab world, thousands marched in condemnation on the streets of Baghdad.[299] Thousands of Egyptians also rallied to request that Cairo's Israeli ambassador be expelled and that the government open the Gaza border.[299] There were also demonstrations in Damascus, Amman, and Beirut. While Palestinians in the West Bank clashed with Israeli security forces who responded with tear gas.[300] Several hundred Arab protestors in Israel were arrested in Umm al-Fahm as the demonstrations turned violent. Protests were also held in the Arab cities of Acre, Sakhnin, Arabe and Shfaram, although there was no violence reported. A spontaneous demonstration also took place in Nazareth as Israeli security forces prepared to face an anticipated wave of violence.[301] Demonstration were also held in Sana'a.[citation needed]

On 1 June 2010, in Malaysia, a man performed a personal protest before the United States embassy at Jalan Tun Razak when he "slashed himself with a penknife on the thighs and chest" to express his disapproval of the Israeli attack. He was bundled away to a hospital before the knife reached his neck.[302] Protests were held across Pakistan by journalists, political parties, and college students. The Lahore Press Club called for the release of all detained persons, and called the raid an "act of terrorism." They accused Israel of violating international law, and demanded an urgent explanation of the matter. They also demanded the Pakistani government to secure the release of the Pakistanis arrested.[303] Protests were also held in Jakarta and other cities across Indonesia.[46] Demonstrations were being organised in New Delhi and other Indian cities to condemn the action.[304]

In Greece, thousands of protesters marched on the Israeli Embassy in Athens, sparking clashes with police, the deployment of tear gas, five arrests and many injuries.[299] Tear gas was also used in Paris to disperse the thousands of people who waved Palestinian and Turkish flags beside the Israeli Embassy.[299] Twenty-one cities in Sweden, including Gothenburg and Malmö, held demonstrations, with thousands of protesters clutching Palestinian flags as they marched on the Israeli Embassy in Stockholm, while speakers expressed their "disgust and dismay".[305] In Norway, approximately 2,000 demonstrators gathered peacefully in front of the Israeli Embassy in Oslo, while chanting slogans and calling for a "boycott of Israel" and closure of the Israeli Embassy.[306] In Italy, there were protests in many cities, including Rome, where one speaker said the situation was "extremely serious and has no precedent whatsoever in the history of international diplomacy."[299] In the United Kingdom, over a thousand protesters rallied outside Downing Street and barricaded Whitehall on 31 May.[294][307] In Manchester 800 protesters attempted to storm the BBC offices in reaction to a perceived bias in the BBC's reporting of the incident. There were further protests in Preston and Bolton.[308][309] Readers of the Irish Times sent angry letters to the newspaper on 1 June.[310] Protests took place across Ireland on 31 May, including Belfast, Cork, Derry, Galway, Sligo and Waterford, while hundreds of protesters in Dublin mached from the Israeli embassy to the nearby US Embassy before returning to the Israeli embassy.[311] Those present at the Dublin protest included Aengus Ó Snodaigh and Chris Andrews, both of whom Cypriot authorities had prevented from joining the flotilla, as well as Lord Mayor of Dublin Emer Costello.[311] Palestinians supporters of both Hamas and Fatah were part of the protests, with chants mostly in Arabic.[312]

From 1–5 June, thousands of people rallied throughout various cities across the United States and Canada to protest the flotilla raid and the subsequent seizure of the MV Rachel Corrie and its crew, including Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Vancouver.[313][314][315][316][317][318][319] In New York City, protesters marched from Times Square toward the Israeli Mission to the United Nations in response to the Israeli attack.[320][321] Similar scenes were seen in Australia, where thousands gathered across the country to protest against the Israeli raid and the on-going blockade of Gaza.[322][323]

On 4 June, there were protests in Ireland and Malaysia. The Israeli embassy in Dublin was blockaded by dozens of people, causing its closure for the day but authorities deemed it a peaceful protest and no arrests were made.[324] Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was among protesters who gathered outside the US embassy along Jalan Tun Razak in Kuala Lumpur, disrupting traffic for several hours.[325] On 5 June further demonstrations were organised in the United Kingdom, with the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign leading a three-thousand strong march in Edinburgh.[326] In London thousands marched from Downing Street to the Israeli embassy to express their outrage at Israeli actions.[327]

On 7 June 2010, approximately 200 mostly Muslim students threw stones at a group of Israelis while chanting "Murderers," and subsequently broke the window of the police car that they took refuge in. One of the Israelis was injured. The incident occurred at the start of the Spain-Israel Chamber of Commerce's conference at Madrid's Autonomous University. Following the violence, the university called off the conference due to safety concerns.[328] According to Spanish media, the organizers had changed the conference's venue at the last minute due to concerns about potential violence but the protestors discovered the new location and stormed in while chanting, "Murderers, murderers. Get out of Gaza" and "Freedom to the Palestinian people."[329]


A demonstration of Tel Aviv University students supporting Israel and Shayetet 13 against the Gaza Flotilla 2010

Many pro-Israeli rallies took place within the country, including by Sderot residents, in Qiryat Shmona and student rallies in the Technion, University of Haifa, Ben Gurion University, Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv University. The rallies included hundreds of demonstrators waving the flag of Israel and chanting slogans in support of the IDF and Shayetet 13.[330][331][332] A large and fierce protest was held in front of the Turkish embassy, which included slogans such as "Shayetet 13, we are with you," "We are all the IDF," "Cold weapons kill." Protesters also accused Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of "supporting terrorism" and equated him with Osama Bin-Laden and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.[333] They also chanted, "The [Gaza] flotilla is burning," while carrying signs reading, "Ahmadinejad=Erdogan." The organizers of the embassy protest described themselves as young zionists.[334][335]

In Los Angeles about 1000 demonstrators were protesting in front of the Turkish Consulate on 1 June in support of Israel.[336] A Jewish high school student was seen walking through a crowd of anti-Israeli protesters alone, carrying a large Israeli flag. Police officers feared for his safety, and escorted him to protect him from potential attacks.[337] On 6 June, demonstrators rallied to show solidarity with Israel at the Israeli consulate in Los Angeles. Notable attendees included Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Poizner, actor Jon Voight, Republican Senate contender Chuck DeVore, Representative Brad Sherman and Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel, City Council members Paul Koretz and Janice Hahn, Judea Pearl, and David Pine of Americans for Peace Now. Several Christian groups were also represented.[338] In New York City, a number of pro-Israel Jews gathered to show their support for Israel.[339] While in Baltimore a pro-Israel rally, organized by the Baltimore Zionist District sough to raise awareness of what supporters called an act of self-defense by Israel against Hamas.[340] As many as 600 people gathered on 6 June at the Torch of Friendship in downtown Miami's Bayfront Park. North Miami Beach City Council member Frantz Pierre led the crowd in a chant of "Peace, peace, peace." Jewish and Christian religious leaders were present. Mohammad S. Shakir, a Muslim and director of the Asian American Advisory Board in the Miami-Dade County Office of Community Advocacy, made a speech.[10]

On 2 June, in London the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland organized a pro-Israel rally in front of Israeli embassy.[341] On 4 June, a demonstration was held in Vienna. On 6 June an event in support Israel in Paris was cancelled due to threats from pro-Palestinian groups. On 6 June, a rally was held in Brussels.[9]

The National Union of Israeli Students planned to send a Kurdish Freedom Flotilla. According to Boaz Torporovsky, President of the Student Union, the plan is to send a flotilla of ships "to deliver much-needed humanitarian assistance to the Kurds of Turkey."[342]

Israeli Arab members of the Knesset, Israel's parliament, received numerous death threats after the incident.[343] A bus driver hired by the Israeli military to transport soldiers put up a sign on the bus saying: "Shayetet 13, shame on you. Why did you kill so few?"[344]


A Rasmussen Reports national telephone poll in the USA of 1000 voters found that 49% of respondents blame pro-Palestinian activists on the Gaza bound aid ships for the deaths that resulted. 19% blamed Israel and 32% were not sure. 51% of those polled thought that Israel should allow an international investigation into the incident, while 25% agreed with Israel's refusal.[345]

A Yougov survey found that 55% of the Britons polled believed Israel had overreacted, 27% didn't know and 18% thought they'd acted in self-defence. When asked about an international investigation, an overwhelming 74% believed it should be conducted by an international group. 4% thought it should be led by Israel, 12% didn't know, and 11% thought an inquiry shouldn't be held as it was a distraction from peace negotiations.[346]

Flotilla movement[edit]

Jewish Voices for a Just Peace, a group of German Jews belonging to the European Jews for a Just Peace that plans to send a boat with humanitarian aid to break the Gaza blockade, has received a large number of request to travel with the ship, and is searching for a second vessel to accommodate additional participants.[347]


In Ireland, Lord Mayor of Cork Dara Murphy opened a book of condolence.[176]

Four trucks carrying tents, blankets and 13 power generators were donated by Russia and Oman.[348]

Result of international actions[edit]

United Nations Security Council[edit]

The United Nations Security Council convened an emergency meeting at the request of Turkey, during which the Turkish foreign minister stated "Israel must be held accountable for its crimes" (prior to the meeting, the Palestinian ambassador to the UN called for an independent Security Council investigation). While the British ambassador said Israel should end the Gaza blockade and take steps for an investigation, the US deputy permanent representative supported the Israeli position that humanitarian aid should have gone by "accepted international mechanisms," and the Israeli deputy permanent representative said the flotilla was not humanitarian but had a mission of breaking the blockade.[349]

The United States directly intervened to prevent the United Nations Security Council's statement, which requested an "impartial" investigation of the deaths and condemned those "acts" that led to it, from resembling that drafted by Turkey, the Palestinians and Arab states, which called for condemnation "in the strongest terms" and an independent international inquiry.[350] 12 hours of negotiations were required to come up with a statement that suited all.[350]

As a result of the emergency meeting that went into the early hours of the morning, the council agreed condemn the acts that resulted in the deaths and injuries aboard the Mavi Marmara. They also called for a prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation conforming to international standards. This was different from what Turkey and the Arab states were demanded – an independent international investigation—leaving open the possibility of who would conduct the investigation.[351][352][353][354]

United Nations Human Rights Council[edit]

The United Nations Human Rights Council passed a resolution by 32 votes to 3, with a number of abstentions, in which it condemned in the strongest terms the outrageous attack by the Israeli forces which resulted in the killing and injuring of many innocent civilians from different countries, and decided to dispatch an independent international fact finding mission to investigate violations of international law resulting from the Israeli attack.[355][356]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Statement by PM Netanyahu Regarding Flotilla to Gaza" (Press release). Prime Minister's Office, Israel. 1 June 2010. Retrieved 2 June 2010. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Bronner, Ethan (5 June 2010). "Israeli Military Boards Gaza-Bound Aid Ship". New York Times. Retrieved 5 June 2010. 
  4. ^ "Argentina condemns Israeli attack to Gaza humanitarian flotilla ", Telam
  5. ^ "Bolivia cuts ties with Israel, seeks genocide charges against Israeli officials",
  6. ^ "Brazil vehemently condemns the Israeli action..."
  7. ^ Young, Audrey (2 June 2010). "NZ adds to chorus of outrage at raid deaths". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 4 November 2011. 
  8. ^ a b c d e Benhorin, Yitzhak (2010-06-09). "Criticism in Turkey: Erdogan knew Gaza sail would be violent". YNet News. Retrieved 19 June 2010. 
  9. ^ a b Liel, Alon (20 March 2011). "Pro-Israel rallies planned worldwide". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 27 March 2011. 
  10. ^ a b Hundreds in Miami rally in support of Israel – Miami-Dade.
  11. ^ the CNN Wire Staff (31 May 2010). "World reaction to Israel after raid on aid flotilla mostly negative". CNN. Retrieved 2 June 2010. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h Carlstrom, Gregg (31 May 2010). "Aftermath of Israel's attack on Gaza flotilla". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 31 May 2010. 
  13. ^ UN demands Israel lift siege of Gaza. (2 June 2010).
  14. ^ "UN rights chief shocked at Gaza aid flotilla massacre". Retrieved 12 May 2012. 
  15. ^ La ONU condena el asalto israelí a la flota humanitaria en Gaza, El Mercurio.
  16. ^ a b c d "Outrage over Israeli attack – Middle East". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 2 June 2010. 
  17. ^ ASEAN, Gulf ministers condemn Israeli raid on flotilla, Channel NewsAsia, 1 June 2010.
  18. ^ "NATO to hold meeting on Israeli attack". Retrieved 2 June 2010. 
  19. ^ "NATO – Official text: The North Atlantic Treaty, 04-Apr.-1949". Retrieved 2 June 2010. 
  20. ^ "NATO – News: Statement by the Secretary General of NATO on Israeli operation against ships bound for Gaza, 01-Jun.-2010". Retrieved 2 June 2010. 
  21. ^ OIC Secretary General: Israeli Aggression on the Relief Convoy Heading for Gaza is a Crime and Blatant Violation of All International Laws Norms and Standards
  22. ^ "Balkan summit condemns Israeli raid on Gaza flotilla". Associated Press. 23 June 2010. Retrieved 23 June 2010. 
  23. ^ Kershner, Isabel; Akram, Fares (13 June 2010). "Israel Backs Panel to Examine Raid". New Your Times. Retrieved 16 June 2010. 
  24. ^ OHCHR: Gaza closure: not another year! ICRC 14 June 2010 News release 10/103
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  26. ^ Mitnick, Joshua (31 May 2010). "More Than 10 Dead After Israel Intercepts Gaza Aid Convoy". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 31 May 2010. 
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  28. ^ Sofer, Roni. "PM: I am proud of soldiers." Ynetnews. 2 June 2010. 2 June 2010.
  29. ^ 'Israel will never apologize'. (3 June 2010).
  30. ^ Israelis Support Netanyahu Charging Hypocrisy on Gaza (Update1). (4 June 2010).
  31. ^ Israeli forces board the Rachel Corrie, The Guardian, 5 June 2010
  32. ^ "Barak: Flotilla organizers to blame". The Jerusalem Post. 31 May 2010. Retrieved 2 June 2010. 
  33. ^ Shamir, Shlomo. "''Haaretz'': Lieberman to UN chief: International community is two-faced for condemning Israel". Haaretz. Israel. Retrieved 12 May 2012. 
  34. ^ Israel drops India's name from the list of violence hit nations.
  35. ^ Livni offers help: In defending IDF there is no coalition, opposition – Israel News, Ynetnews. (20 June 1995).
  36. ^ "Livni: Keep world from investigating IDF soldiers". 20 June 1995. Retrieved 12 May 2012. 
  37. ^ DPA (29 May 2010). "The Hindu : News / International : Flotilla attack could have been ‘solved differently,’ says Israeli envoy". Chennai, India: Retrieved 2 June 2010. 
  38. ^ By JPOST.COM STAFF, 6 March 2010 10:18 [1]
  39. ^ Aviad Glickman,High Court rejects flotilla suits: Soldiers defended their lives, Ynet (English), 3 June 2010.
  40. ^ IDF Locked Out of Planning Session Ahead of Mavi Marmara, by Yechiel Spira, Yeshiva World News, 10 June 2010
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