Israel denounces ship as terrorist operation
JERUSALEM – Israel on Wednesday deported hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists who had been detained after its commando attack Monday on a Gaza aid flotilla, and braced for the arrival of at least one more ship attempting to break its naval blockade of Gaza.
The MV Rachel Corrie, named for an American activist who was killed in the Gaza Strip in 2003, set off Monday from Malta toward the Gaza Strip. Carrying 15 passengers, it was expected to arrive in Israel this weekend.
Derek Graham, an activist on board, said they would attempt to break the blockade to honor the memory of the nine people killed in the previous flotilla attempt.
President Barack Obama and other world leaders urged Israel to ensure that there’s no recurrence of a commando raid like Monday’s.
However, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called criticism of Israel’s actions “an attack of international hypocrisy” and said Israel would continue to counter any attempt to breach the blockade.
“This wasn’t a love ship, it was a hate boat,” he said. “This was not a peaceful operation, it was a terrorist operation.”