VARIOUS/FILE: Bosnian protesters join MEPs, Italy in condemnation of flotilla raid, latest
- Title: VARIOUS/FILE: Bosnian protesters join MEPs, Italy in condemnation of flotilla raid, latest
- Date: 1st June 2010
- Summary: SARAJEVO, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA (MAY 31, 2010) (REUTERS) TURKISH STUDENTS WITH TURKISH AND PALESTINIAN FLAGS PROTESTING AT SQUARE PHOTOGRAPHER TAKING PICTURES VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS HOLDING TURKISH AND PALESTINIAN FLAGS AND CHANTING (SOUNDBITE) (English) PALESTINIAN SEMIR GEITH, SAYING: "I cannot describe my feelings. I just want to say that all the world can see the killers from Israel, the terrorist people. They don't just kill Palestinian people, they kill everyone who wants to help us, and we fight it more than fifty years and we will fight. We'll not go down, and thanks God we have supporters from Turkey and from whole the world and this is not the end. It will be continued." PROTESTERS CHANTING FEMALE STUDENTS WALKING WITH PALESTINIAN FLAG (SOUNDBITE) (English) TURKISH STUDENT KUBRA UNAL, SAYING: "There were people from fifteen different nationalities there and still Israel could do this, so Israel was against the whole world. How can they dare to do it. I was just shocked. I was not expecting that much from them. I hope this will be the last action of them." VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS CHANTING
- Reuters ID: LVA77ZRUKAWONKBOCCKFO6P9880X
- Duration: 00:01:38
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- Topics: International Relations,Religion
- Story Text: Members of the European legislature on Monday (May 31) strongly condemned the storming of a Gaza-bound humanitarian flotilla by Israeli commandos in international waters.
The leader of the European Socialists, German MEP Martin Schulz, called for an immediate United Nations-led investigation.
"I'm shocked, to be honest, I'm deeply concerned about the European-Israeli relations after the incident. I think that it is absolutely inappropriate that to attack with such strong and severe military means a peaceful initiative of people who are not fighters against Israel but people who want to support the civilians in Gaza. So I think sudden action in international waters requires absolutely an investigation in my eyes of the United Nations," he said in an interview with Reuters.
Belgian MEP Veronique de Keyser -- freshly returned from a parliamentary mission to Gaza -- said she was angry.
"I'm deeply shocked, I'm angry. I think it's a disaster. It's bad and it could have been avoided, and this is something which is crossing the red line for Israel, for me. I cannot understand that. The people on the flotilla were simply civilians. It was humanitarian aid," said de Keyser.
Shultz added that the parliament and the E.U. must freeze all negotiations with Israel until they have obtained full results from the investigation.
He said it is not time yet to talk of sanctions but insisted that it was unacceptable for Prime Minister Netanyahu's government to allow such an attack.
"I want to see an international inquiry, and until the result of such an inquiry, we should really suspend the negotiation with Israel because, I think, there is also no majority in the European Parliament to continue. I repeat: I was always defending Israel, I myself and a lot of members of my group, because we had a certain kind of understanding for the difficult position of Israel. But the Netanyahu government has reacted in a completely inappropriate and unacceptable way and therefore, I now ask my colleagues to reflect how we can stop, at the very moment, negotiations about all this ongoing upgrading of debates of treaties between the European Union and Israel until we get full clarification," Schulz said.
While the Vatican said the killing of civilians in Israel's storming was "very painful" in a written statement, Italy followed the steps of Germany and Turkey in condemning the act.
"I deplore in the strongest terms the killing of civilians. This is certainly a grave act. It is indispensable that there be an inquest to ascertain the facts, which are still not clear. What is clear is that civilians have lost their lives," said foreign minister Franco Frattini.
He also said he had asked the Israeli ambassador for clarification on the episode and hoped that it would not hurt efforts on the part of Israel and Turkey to cooperate in the search for Middle East peace.
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, hundreds of Turkish students staged a protest, as they waved the Palestinian flag in the air.
"I cannot describe my feelings. I just want to say that all the world can see the killers from Israel, the terrorist people. They don't just kill Palestinian people, they kill everyone who wants to help us, and we fight it more than fifty years and we will fight. We'll not go down, and thanks God we have supporters from Turkey and from whole the world and this is not the end. It will be continued," said Semir Geith.
Another protester Kubra Unal said: "There were people from fifteen different nationalities there and still Israel could do this, so Israel was against the whole world. How can they dare to do it. I was just shocked. I was not expecting that much from them. I hope this will be the last action of them."
Israel's storming of the Gaza-bound aid flotilla set off a diplomatic furore, drawing criticism from friends and foes alike and straining ties with regional ally Turkey, which called off planned joint military exercises.
Israeli commandos intercepted the convoy carrying 700 people and 10,000 tonnes of supplies for Gaza before dawn on Monday. Officials said they were met with knives when they boarded the ships, including a ferry flying the Turkish flag.
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