Likens Israel's attack on aid ship to US attack on Germany, Japan
Michael Oren, Israel's ambassador to the United States, called his country's raid on an aid flotilla en route to Gaza "perfectly legal, perfectly humane and very responsible" in an interview Tuesday with Fox News.
Oren likened the attack to that of the US in World War II.
"The US acted under similar international law when it fought the Germans and the Japanese in World War Two," the ambassador said.
Oren also defended Israel's right to attack the ship even though it was in international waters.
"Israel acted in accord with international law," he remarked. "Any state has the right to protect itself, certainly from a terrorist threat such as Hamas, including on the open seas."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed not to let the public relations challenge and international condemnation surrounding the flotilla raid to force his country to end a blockade on Gaza, a Palestinian-controlled area adjacent to Israel proper.
The aid flotilla was funded by a Turkish group.
A former agent for the Israeli intelligence service Mossad, Victory Ostrovsky, told Washington Post reporter Jeff Stein on Tuesday that he felt Israel's approach to the raid was "so stupid it's stupefying."
For one, Ostrovsky suggested, commandos could have approached the ship from under water and disabled the propellers, letting the activists drift for days until their food supplies ran out. He added that Israeli soldiers should not have fast-roped into a crowd as they had, instead suggesting that it would have been more productive to board the ship from the front and back, then work inward.
"The mistakes were on every level," Ostrovsky told Stein, "from the order to forcefully board outside the territorial waters to the actual attack."
With reporting by Stephen Webster