Kadima and opposition leader Tzipi Livni, meanwhile, expressed full confidence Tuesday in the “principles” of Israel’s soldiers, which “remain unchanging even when they join the IDF … and even when they take over a ship and are attacked and beaten almost to death on board.”
Livni criticized the world’s response to the incident, saying it was impossible to make a direct comparison between Israel and Hamas. “I understand the personal pain that is expressed concerning the incidents that occurred here, but there is not one democracy in the world that can generate a comparison between murderers and those who defend themselves or kill without intending to.”
“Israel and Hamas are not two sides of the same equation,” she stressed.
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said on Tuesday that in seizing the provocative flotilla heading to Gaza, the IDF acted with determination and courage. He added that Israel exercised restraint – sometimes too much restraint.
“Israel is a small country and needs to protect itself and there was no other alternative than to defend ourselves,” said Steinitz at a ministry conference in Jerusalem on Tuesday. “It is clear that the real mission of the flotilla was not to transfer humanitarian aid, which could have entered through the border crossings at the Ashdod port. Instead, the real mission was to break the naval siege to Gaza. The water siege is not perfect, but [it is] essential. It is necessary to understand that a breakage of the siege would mean an increase in terrorism and rockets against Israeli citizens. We don’t have a choice, if our country needs to protect lives, we must defend ourselves.”