The “Freedom Flotillas” that got such widespread coverage in the media the last couple of years as they tried to penetrate an Israeli blockade of Gaza, was linked to terror organizations, according to Israeli leader Danny Danon. Several people were killed during violent confrontations between Israeli forces and Flotilla participants. Flotilla Ships were boarded, commandeered and searched before their contents were allowed passage on to Gaza.
Danon, a powerful and popular Israeli leader, sat down and talked to us on a range of issues. His rising political power and nationalistic views, will probably be major factors in Israel policy moving forward.
This is part 2 in a 3 part segment:
Of course one mans freedom fighter is another mans terrorist.
I told Mr. Danon that many people in Ireland are sympathetic towards those they perceive as being occupied or repressed and naturally want to see some settlement to the Gaza and West Bank situation in Palestine/Israel. Ireland looks at its own occupation by Britain for hundreds of years and sees some comparison to the situation in Gaza, either rightly or wrongly. We know it is a far more complicated issue, but perception is key.
Since Irish activists were key in these flotillas and crewed ships such as The Rachel Corrie and the MV Saoirse, which embarked from Ireland, it was a natural question to ask Danon if he thought Ireland was a base for anti Israel sentiment?
Danon replied: “I don’t think you can label Ireland as anti Israel or a terrorist base. We have many good friends in Ireland who support us. So it is not Ireland per se, but a terror threat can emanate from any country and we take measures for our security as needed and necessary, no matter where a threat may emanate from.”
I asked Danon, if Israel had been under the control of a Danny Danon government, would he have reacted any differently to Flotillas trying to penetrate Israel’s security ring around Gaza?
“These flotillas were not seeking any type of humanitarian support, they were seeking confrontation” I think we should have handled it differently, just like any free and democratic country would have done. If someone tries to enter your state without permission…You stop him, no matter what.”
He went on: “Because we were not sure about what we should do, our reaction was not strong enough” As a result our actions encouraged more activities like these, to actually seek confrontation and nothing else.”
Of course you reached out to the UN for support during this time and particularly the United States, your ally. We noticed that US Ambassador Susan Rice, didn’t bother to show up for the emergency meeting, what gives with that?
“When Ambassador Rice didn’t show up to the emergency meeting on the flotilla, it brought a realization to us that we have to rely only on ourselves. We know we have the US citizens support, but the White House administration doesn’t understand what we are faced with.”
"The American citizens know who is good and bad. Israel is being attacked for having the same values as our shared democracies. Because we are in the neighborhood, we are first to confront the very forces aligned against us and the very existence of the United States."
Part 3 will discuss Israels new bonanza of natural gas and what it means to be not only energy independent but to be a huge exporter of this product. Will they go all out and exploit this resource, or will they be hamstrung by the same forces who fight Americas energy producers?
Also a glimpse into Israeli gun control laws, are they strict about it? Do they have the same type of gun violence in their country that the US is experiencing?
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