Israel offered a vigorous defense Monday amidst a rapidly deepening international dispute over its deadly overnight raid on a flotilla of ships carrying aid bound for Gaza.
Under pressure from even its allies over the incident that killed at least nine people, Israel’s Deputy U.N. Ambassador Daniel Carmon took to the floor of the international body to fire back against the idea that the ships were peaceful, unarmed and humanitarian.
“What kind of peace activists use knives, clubs and fire from weapons stolen from soldiers...to attack soldiers to attack soldiers who board a ship in accordance with international law?,” he asked.
"They are not peace activists; They are not messengers of good will. They cynically use a humanitarian platform to send a message of hate and to implement violence," he added.
Israeli commandos attacked a Gaza-bound aid flotilla Monday carrying 10,000 tons of aid destined for the blockaded Gaza Strip. The Israeli military said seven soldiers were wounded, one of them seriously.
Arab states, most of whom were already in an uneasy peace with the U.S.-allied Jewish state, were said to be furious over the incident, AFP reported. The European Union’s 27 nations issued their own statement against the raid.
Earlier at the U.N., Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Israel “lost all legitimacy” because of the raid.
But Carmon, the Israeli deputy ambassador, said the flotilla turned down repeated requests from Israeli troops to stand down for inspection in accordance with international laws. He characterized the incident on the ship as a "lynch" on Israeli soldiers.
“The results of last night's events are tragic and unfortunate, and Israel deeply regrets any loss of innocent lives,” Carmon said. “But it cannot compromise its security. Nobody would.”