Jerusalem: Showing no signs of remorse,
Israel on Wednesday praised the deadly raid carried out by its navy
commandos on the humanitarian aid flotilla headed to Gaza,
saying "there is no mercy for the weak" in the region and a
strong defence was the only option.
Israel`s Defence Minister Ehud Barak?today visited the
Shayetet 13 base in Atlit and praised the commandos who
participated in the bloody raid on the Gaza-bound ships that
left nine pro-Palestinian activists dead and dozens others
wounded, Army Radio reported.
"You carried out the mission and prevented the
flotilla from reaching Gaza," Barak said.
"We need to always remember that we aren`t North
America or Western Europe.
"We live in the Middle East, in a place where there is
no mercy for the weak and there aren`t second chances for
those who don`t defend themselves.
"You were fighting for your lives ? I saw it, and I
heard it from your commanders," he said.
Barak was accompanied by Israel Defence Forces
(IDF) Chief of Staff, Gabi Ashkenazi, and Navy commander
Nine pro-Palestinian activists were killed on Monday
in clashes that occurred when Israeli naval commandos took
control of the Mavi Marmara ship, one of the six aid ships
intercepted by the IDF.
Seven Israeli soldiers were wounded, two seriously,
when attacked by the activists.
Meanwhile, Israel has begun deporting the first batch
of foreign activists apprehended aboard the aid carrying
ships, the Foreign Ministry said today, indicating that the
rest of the activists will be escorted out of the country
throughout the day.
325 foreign activists, out of the 680 that
participated in the mission, were transferred this morning
from the Ela detention facility in Be`er Sheva to Ben Gurion
Airport for flights to their countries of origins.
Another 186 activists were still at the prison but
Israeli authorities were processing their release "at this
moment," a prison service spokeswoman said.
In the face of mounting international criticism,
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to deport
all the foreign activists yesterday.
Israeli officials said that all the 680 activists held
would be released, including two dozen that Israel had
threatened to prosecute earlier on charges of assaulting its