Gaza aid flotilla: Israeli reaction


Funerals for nine activists, all Turkish or of Turkish origin, killed in Israel's raid on the Gaza aid flotilla, took place on Thursday.

Israel has said there is no need for an international inquiry into the incident, insisting its own will meet the "highest international standards". While the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) voted earlier to set up an investigation.

Many Israelis are divided over the actions of their government. Here, some of them share their views.


Like most Israelis I was horrified that people were killed and wounded when the IDF boarded the ship, but when there are soldiers lying injured in hospital, I can not help questioning the idea that this was a totally peaceful ship.

I can only go by the accounts we have seen in our media. They have played a recording of the Israeli commander talking to his troops during the operation. You hear him say they should use stun grenades and either tear gas or smoke but when the soldiers report they are being shot at, they are given permission to shoot back.

I've been in the army and when you are in a situation like this; when you are directly faced with people throwing rocks or hitting you with iron bars and you fear your own life is in danger, you are entitled to shoot back. Every army in the world has been faced with these dilemmas, including the British Army in Northern Ireland.

Was there an overreaction from the Israeli forces? I can't say, but it is also a possibility that cannot be ruled out. We won't know who is telling the truth until all the evidence has been properly analysed. I find it hard to accept the soldier's claim that they first boarded with paint ball guns - if it's true then that is weird.

But equally I question the motivation of the people involved in this operation - are they so anti-Israeli that they might just embellish their stories?

Israelis don't go around looking for people to shoot. Many people here are opposed to the boarding, some are opposed to the terms of the embargo but the majority of people, despite having misgivings, accept it is necessary.

The fact remains that we are at war with Hamas. No one seems to care about the missiles that are regularly launched at Israel. Is our blood any less precious?


I didn't think it was wise to confront the soldiers. In my opinion Israel should use policemen or border police to conduct searches in international waters. Having soldiers there risked escalating the situation, as it was nine people died. No one should have been killed!

I don't think the troops had to raid the ship, I think other means could have been used, even if that meant the ships would have stormed into Gaza harbour.

But I want to make it clear, I don't blame the soldiers. They had no other means of protecting themselves once on board the ship.

The error, I believe, was to send soldiers there in the first place, other means should have been used to try and stop the ships.

I also want to make it clear that I believe Israel has the right to defend itself, and that includes checking goods going into the Gaza strip.

Image caption,
Michael Cohen doesn't think it was wise to confront the soldiers

We are at war with Gaza and its people. Hamas does not recognize my right to exist in a Jewish state side by side with the Palestinians and therefore rockets Israeli civilians.

I am concerned about the affect on relations with Turkey, they are very important for Israel and its society. Israel is not always treated fairly, it is usual to demonise Israel and judge it unfairly. I have never heard of Hamas, Hezbollah or Iran and other hard liners being condemned by the UN Human Rights Council.

Israel has to find a way to remain in good relations with its neighbours and allies in Europe, America and Asia. I feel Turkey is an important ally for Israel and may help bridge a peace treaty with our foes in the future.

Israel lives under constant threat but we have chosen to remain democratic. Most Israeli citizens would like to find peace with the Palestinians and live in two states side by side.

Yes, there are problems that we must overcome such as integrating better with the Arabs living in Israel, and yes we need to be less tough when it comes to dealing with security issues. But like any other democracy we have to find a way to solve our problems without hurting others.


Image caption,
Ori Pomson thinks the soldiers were only doing their job

I was very sad to hear that people had died, but the soldiers were just doing their job.

These people were not peace activists, they came with the intention to provoke Israel and not to bring aid. Their actions were totally unacceptable.

Videos have shown who was responsible here. These "peace" activists (although "provocatists" would be a more precise name for them) had made preparations to attack the Israeli soldiers, who were left with no choice but to board the boat when the activists fail to heed to the border patrollers' demands.

There is clear video evidence proving that the Israeli soldiers were left no choice but to defend themselves.

Israel is just trying to protect its citizens, and I'm very disappointed that we have not received much support in this matter from the international community. It is clear who is in the right here, and if this had happened to other countries I'm sure they would have reacted the same way.

These people had weapons which could kill people. If they really wanted to give aid to the people of Gaza, they should have done so in a legitimate way.

It would be regrettable to break ties with Turkey, but the blockade is right and should continue, as it does not prevent harmless aid from entering but stops materials which would be used for rockets (like cement and sugar) reaching Hamas.

Our country is just taking action to protect us, its people.