Israel signals new cooperation with UN over Gaza flotilla
As a fresh round of activist ships prepares to set sail from Lebanon, Israel and the UN have made conciliatory statements on the Gaza flotilla issue that could help repair the fraught relationship – although not completely.
Tel Aviv, Israel
Israel appears to have improved its cooperation with the United Nations over its controversial Gaza policy after coming under pressure from activists seeking to break Israel's sea blockade of the Hamas-controlled territory. The latest fleet of activist ships is preparing to set sail from Lebanon.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
On Friday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s spokesman, Martin Nesirky, said that the aid to Gaza should be delivered by established land routes rather than the sea – a remark that irked Hamas, which blamed the UN for "collaboration" with the Israeli government.
"The UN call to international organizations to use the over-land road to Gaza instead of the sea is unacceptable and illegal," said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zahri on Saturday.
Yesterday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his cabinet that he is mulling with cooperating with Mr. Ban on the establishment of a commission of inquiry into the killing of nine activists during the May 31 intercept of an aid boat with hundreds of activists.
UN-Israel ties were badly injured last year amid the accusations by the UN’s Goldstone commission of Israeli misconduct during the Gaza war. While cooperation over the flotilla raid would repair only one part of the fraught relationship, it could help both sides avoid further controversy.
"The United Nations doesn't want to get caught in the crossfire of these flotillas because they are highly politicized,’’ said a Western diplomat who spoke on the condition remaining anonymous.
Obama friend raising funds for US aid ship
Late last week, Israel's ambassador to the UN made a public appeal to the international body to help stop future aid ships.
A new aid ship organized by a Palestinian businessman is rumored to be planning to set sail from Tripoli within days. Two weeks ago, a Libyan-backed ship challenged Israel’s blockade but decided to deliver its payload through an Egyptian port.