Planned Gaza-bound mission could undermine regional security, UN envoy says
WASHINGTON – Israel has warned the United Nations that the security situation in the Middle East may be undermined as result of a the Lebanese flotilla planning to head to the Gaza Strip.In a letter relayed to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gabriela Shalev said the “provocative” sail may affect security in the entire region.
Organizers of the flotilla openly declared their intention to become martyrs, Shalev wrote in her letter, adding that they are apparently linked to Hamas activists. She said that the possibility that terrorists or weapons would be smuggled on board the Lebanese ships should not be discounted.
Shalev added that Israel reserves the right to utilize all necessary means, in line with international law, in order to prevent the ships from breaching the naval blockade around Gaza. She noted that Lebanon is a hostile state, and that Israel and Hamas are embroiled in an ongoing conflict.
The letter also notes that despite the blockade and Gilad Shalit’s ongoing captivity, without Red Cross access, Israel continues to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza on a daily basis.
Shalev also urged Lebanon to act responsibly and called on the international community to avert the provocative sail, thereby preventing tension and possible escalation in the region.
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