Saturday, June 26, 2010

Gaza-bound Enemy Ships Identified

From a DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 24, 2010:

...With two ships, one Lebanese and one Iranian, already at sea, the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri was reported by debkafile's intelligence sources as coupling his public support for the sea campaign to break Israel's blockade of Gaza with a quiet bid to stall it.

He privately asked Cypriot President Demetris Christofias, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and the Maltese Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi to deny Lebanese ships bound for Gaza permission to drop anchor, refuel or load provisions at their ports, in order to prevent them from proceeding to Gaza.

Hariri explained that he feared the flotilla campaign to break the Israeli blockade would precipitate a new Middle East war.

...On Thursday, June 24, Israel repeated its warning that ships trying to breach its blockade against the Gaza Strip would be deemed "enemy vessels." The Israeli Navy has been instructed to employ every available means to bar their access to Gaza's shore....

As the climate over the Mediterranean heats up, two ships are either at sea or hours away from embarkation - the Julia from Lebanon and an Iranian ship, which is said to be making for the Suez Canal from the Persian Gulf port of Khorramshahr. ...The Lebanese "Julia" belongs to a Syrian shipping firm headed by a cousin of President Bashar Assad, who made it available to Hizballah for the challenge to Israel. The Lebanese flotilla effort is funded by a Palestinian by the name of Yasser Kashlak who, posing as a wealthy businessman, serves as Tehran's secret channel for remitting funds to Hizballah and Palestinian terrorist organizations, including Hamas.

Therefore, Israel's designation of these ships and those of Iran as enemy vessels meets the case.

...when Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak met US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on June 22, he voiced extreme concern about the Lebanese Prime Minister's inability to rein in Hizballah. Because of this, the situation in the region could rapidly deteriorate, said Barak.

Right after the meeting, the US issued a statement about the "aid" flotillas saying, "Direct delivery by sea is neither appropriate nor responsible, and certainly not effective, under the circumstances. There is no need for unnecessary confrontations, and we, along with our partners in the Quartet, call on all parties to act responsibly in meeting the needs of the people of Gaza."
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