Hamas Flotilla Jihadists Receive Hero's Welcome in Turkey

Stung by World Criticism, Israel Toughens Stance on Palestinian State

June 3, 2010 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - - Throngs gathered in Turkey today welcoming the return of the ragtag collection of Hamas supporters, as they filtered back into the country fresh from their bloody confrontation with the IDF.

"Around 1,000 people gathered at Istanbul's Ataturk airport to greet more than 500 returning activists. Thousands more celebrated and demonstrated against Israel in the heart of Istanbul. The activists were greeted like heroes, and many could not wait to tell their stories to the waiting army of journalists." [source, Voice of America, Gaza Blockade Activists Return to Turkey, http://www1.voanews.com/english/news/middle-east/Deported-Activists-Arrive-in-Turkey-95504044.html#comments]

Though much of world opinion predictably was critical of Israel, recent statements by PM Netanyahu indicate his government has toughened its position vis a vis the Palestinians.

In a May 30 hard-line speech delivered in Toronto even before news of the flotilla incident reached him, Mr. Netanyahu stated that any future Palestinian state must be demilitarized.

"We must ensure that we achieve a peace that is anchored in security, the only peace that will endure is a peace we can defend," Mr. Netanyahu said, speaking to some 7,000 members of Toronto's Jewish community at a pro-Israel rally. "A future Palestinian state must be effectively demilitarized." [source, National Post, Future Palestinian State Must be Demilitarized, http://news.nationalpost.com/2010/05/30/future-palestinian-state-must-be-demilitarized-netanyahu-at-toronto-speech]

Today in a televised address to the nation, the prime minister vigorously defended the actions taken against the jihadist flotilla.

"Hamas is smuggling thousands of Iranian rockets, missiles and other weaponry, smuggling it into Gaza in order to fire on Israel's cities...These missiles can reach Ashdod, Beersheba, these are major Israeli cities. And I regret to say that some of them can reach now Tel Aviv and very soon the outskirts of Jerusalem...This is not a theoretical challenge or a theoretical threat. We've already interdicted vessels bound for Hezbollah and for Hamas from Iran containing hundreds of tons of weapons...Israel simply cannot permit the free flow of weapons and war materials to Hamas from the sea." [source, Reuters, Excerpts from Israel PM Netanyahu's televised remarks, http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6515T820100602]

If the intent of the flotilla jihadists was to force Israel to back down, the effect has been exactly the opposite, with public opinion in the Jewish state overwhelmingly having turned towards support of the Netanyahu government in this matter.

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