Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Israeli military operation against the humanitarian flotilla and the Gaza blockade

Delivered in Plenary - 16th June 2010

Mr President

I too deeply regret the loss of life in the IHH Gaza flotilla. However, I despair at the hysterical outbreak of Israel-bashing in this House. Israel is not perfect, but it is a democracy. It may have made some serious mistakes in this operation, and I await the outcome of the inquiry assisted by a Canadian and British expert before passing judgement, but what is sure is that the IDF had no intention to use lethal force, and the commandos were shocked at the ferocity of the life-threatening attacks they sustained by IHH militants and responded in self-defence.

My question to the High Representative is, why did the Government of Turkey collude with this provocative mission? Why were children and women allowed to be taken into a naval blockade area and a potential conflict zone? The blockade was in place to interdict the flow of Iranian-paid arms to an EU-banned terrorist organisation, Hamas, which is hell-bent on killing innocent Israeli civilians. The blockade is a legitimate action, in my view, and we must also take that into consideration.