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Israeli Official Calls Gaza Flotilla a "Provocation" and Refuses to Deny Israeli Role in Sabotage of Boats

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In a Democracy Now! interview before the U.S. ship "The Audacity of Hope" left a port in Greece, Consul General of Israel in New York Ido Aharoni defends the Israeli government's campaign against the flotilla, claiming there is no need for humanitarian aid to be shipped to Gaza now that Egypt has opened the Rafah border crossing.

Aharoni also refuses to deny Israel played a role in the sabotage of two boats in the flotilla and refuses to promise that Israeli officials will not arrest the Democracy Now! journalists on board the flotilla if Israeli intercepts the ship.

"The very idea of a flotilla is a provocation," Aharoni said on Democracy Now! July 1. "I can tell you the whole idea of the flotilla is unnecessary, and we have no interest in dealing with it, and hopefully the flotilla will not be on its way to Israel."

Here is an excerpt of the transcript when Democracy Now! questioned Aharoni about the sabotage of ships in the Gaza flotilla.

DEMOCRACY NOW!'S JUAN GONZALEZ: Consul General, the organizers of the flotilla have raised these issues that several of their ships have been sabotaged, and they believe that Israel would be the only one who would be interested in doing that and they believe Israel is behind it. Can you say publicly that Israel has not been involved in any kind of sabotage attempts on these ships?

IDO AHARONI: Look, this is the most irrelevant question, whether the ships were sabotaged or not. The entire idea of the flotilla is unneeded, not necessary, and it is not legitimate. If they are interested in providing aid to Gaza, there are ways to do it, through international organizations, they can do it directly with Israel, they can actually do it through Egypt. They were invited by the Egyptian government through the port of El Arish, but for some reason the organizers are determined to turn this in to a media event and to create a provocation that is unneeded and will endanger the lives of all the people involved, and there is no need to do that.

DEMOCRACY NOW!'S AMY GOODMAN:
So, Consul General, you are not denying responsibility for sabotaging these boats?

IDO AHARONI: Well, I don't know the details. I have no idea what the organizers are claiming. I haven't seen any of those claims, but I can tell you the whole idea of the flotilla is unnecessary, and we have no interest in dealing with it, and hopefully the flotilla will not be on its way to Israel.

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