U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (NJ-06) Wednesday sent the following letter to President Obama urging that the administration support Israel's enforcement of a naval blockade on Gaza and condemn Turkey's reaction and support of the organization behind the recent flotilla incident near the Gaza strip.
June 2, 2010
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
I write to you concerning the recent effort by a Turkish flotilla to violate an Israeli blockade on Gaza. I believe it is vital that we support Israel's right to defend its people and to exercise authority in ensuring dangerous resources do not reach the terrorist organization Hamas.
The loss of life and violence that unfolded is unfortunate. After repeated warnings the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) continued to rebuff Israeli offers to deliver humanitarian aid through proper channels and challenged a standing Israeli blockade. Furthermore, it must be understood that Israeli naval personnel were attacked once boarding the ship with knives, clubs and other weapons and forced to respond.
As details continue to unfold, I urge you to instruct your administration to work within the U.N. to ensure that Israel is treated in a fair and unbiased manner. As you are aware, on September 15, 2009 the U.N. Commission on Human Rights released the Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, commonly known as the Goldstone Report. This report was one-sided and was based on a pre-judged outcome against Israel. The House of Representatives overwhelmingly supported and passed a resolution calling on you to unequivocally oppose any endorsement of the report.
The U.N. Security Council has now approved a resolution calling for an independent investigation into circumstances surrounding the incident aboard the Turkish flotilla. In the interest of fairness and to prevent another pre-judged report I urge your administration to oppose another investigation which would allow a biased outcome. Israel has offered non-provocative and non-confrontational mechanisms to ensure that aid is delivered to Gaza. In fact, the Israeli government had offered to bring the aid on the flotilla through the port of Ashdod, in accordance with established Israeli procedures.
In addition I urge you to condemn Turkey's support of IHH which has been known to maintain ties to terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Al Qaeda. I also ask that you condemn Turkey's reaction to the incident involving the flotilla. Rather than engaging in an open dialogue, Turkey has chosen to recall their ambassador from Israel and disrupt diplomatic relations. This is the same ploy that Turkey has used against the United States and other countries when there is disagreement. Turkey has chosen to ignore the facts and force its own view of events through threat. We can not allow these same old tactics to prevent us from taking the right position.
Thank you for your consideration of this letter.
FRANK PALLONE, JR.
Member of Congress