June 4, 2010
In News The Israel-Palestine Conflict
President salutes soldiers wounded in IDF raid on Gaza flotilla ‘in name of entire State of Israel’
|Published:||06.03.10, 18:14 / Israel News|
"Israel is going through a difficult time, and to my regret there is a structural majority against Israel in the UN," President Shimon Peres said Thursday during a visit to soldiers wounded in the IDF raid on the Gaza flotilla.
"It doesn’t matter what we do – and of course this is not a majority of justice. There is no way of passing logical and positive resolutions regarding the Middle East with the Arab lobby in the UN," he said.
Peres paused near the bed of a moderately wounded soldier, and talked with two others wounded in the lethal raid that left nine activists dead.
"From the first day my heart was with Y.," the president said to the soldier’s family. "I was deeply moved to speak to him and I know it’s a miracle that today he can lie in bed and speak to me. He is the salt of the earth, and the entire State of Israel embraces him today."
Peres also thanked the soldiers’ families. "I have the honor today of saluting you," he said, "and I thank you in the name of the State."
"You fought morally, and showed valor in your acts," he continued. "In the name of the State of Israel, I salute you and admire your courage and restraint even in the face of danger to your own lives."
"There were terrorists on the decks of the Marmara," the president said, echoing what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had said Wednesday. "Israel will continue to extend a hand in peace and I will take advantage of my visit to once again call on Hamas – abandon the path of terror, recognize Israel, and return to the negotiating table immediately. Only in this way will you lift the blockade on Gaza."
"The last fight was a moral, not a military, battle," Peres said. "The State of Israel works with a sense of moral mission, and I am sure that the sense of justice was with you during the operation. You did not act as robots, you acted with discretion, you were heedful even as your own lives were in danger. The unit members did incredible things, both singly and as a unit. You put the nation first. I hear love and admiration for the unit and for the army from all sides."
The president also recalled that Israel had left Gaza of its own free will. "Immediately after this, without any reason, Hamas chose to fire missiles on innocent women and children in the State of Israel," he said.
The IDF spokesman’s office issued footage on Thursday which may reveal the real intentions of some of the flotilla participants.
"When I first traveled, I wanted to be a real shaheed (martyr), but I was not lucky," one of the Marmara passengers long before he had even seen an IDF soldier. "The second time I also wanted to be a shaheed, but I was not lucky. The third time, Inshallah (god willing), I will be a shaheed."
Among the items found aboard the flotilla vessels were jackets bearing the Turkish flag, binoculars and masks for protection against smoke. The newly released videos show activists preparing for the battle, including cutting metal bars.