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Public Statements

The Gaza Flotilla Incident

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

* Mr. SCHIFF. Madam Speaker, Israel has the right and the duty to defend its citizens from attack, and it is both reasonable and prudent to interdict weapons from being smuggled into Gaza.

* Last Monday's confrontation between Israeli naval forces and a group of activists seeking to bring supplies to the Hamas-governed Gaza Strip was tragic, and I join the worldwide outpouring of grief over the deaths of nine people aboard the Mavi Marmara.

* In the midst of his tragedy, we must not forget that Israel has been engaged in a protracted struggle with Hamas, a terrorist organization that has repeatedly stated that it will never accept Israel's right to exist, and which has used the 1.4 million people of Gaza as human shields for rocket attacks and other acts of terror against Israeli citizens.

* The Turkish group that organized the flotilla, the IHH, must accept responsibility for the loss of life aboard the ship by deliberately provoking a confrontation with Israeli Navy personnel enforcing a legal blockade of Gaza. Rather than accepting Israel's offer to offload its cargo in Israel for subsequent transport via the land crossings into Gaza, the Mavi Marmara chose to try to run the blockade and then resisted the Israeli boarding party, beating Israeli troops with metal pipes and other weapons. In the days since the incident, it has been revealed some of those aboard the ship were jihadist provocateurs seeking a clash with the Israeli military. And regrettably in this, they were successful.

* The international community must show greater resolve in forcing Hamas to renounce terror, accept Israel's right to exist, and abide by prior agreements. We must work together with Israel to meet the urgent needs of the people of Gaza, but Hamas bears ultimate responsibility for the continued suffering of the people of that region.


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