State Department says it opposes sabotaging flotilla boats

Israel/Palestine
on 14 Comments

Well it took some badgering, but State Department spokesman Mark Toner conceded as much yesterday. Apparently this was the work of the great Matt Lee of AP.

QUESTION: Slightly related, on the Gaza flotilla, are you concerned at all that there seem – that some of these ships appear to be sabotaged?

MR. TONER: I really don’t have any comment on that. I’ve seen the press reports and haven’t had any other confirmation beyond that.

QUESTION: So it wouldn’t bother you at all if this was happening?

MR. TONER: I just can’t speak to whether – the veracity, I guess, of these claims that they’ve been sabotaged. Our opinion – that’s been stated very clearly from the State Department, both from the Secretary down to this podium – is that these flotillas are a bad idea, and there’s other ways to get this kind of assistance to the people of Gaza.

QUESTION: So preventing the flotilla from leaving by a –

MR. TONER: I didn’t say – I am in no way condoning any sabotage of these vessels.

QUESTION: Well, are –

MR. TONER: But I’m saying these vessels, these flotillas, in and of themselves, are not a good idea.

QUESTION: Well, can you say that you would be opposed to anyone trying to sabotage these – trying to sabotage these ships?

MR. TONER: Again –

QUESTION: It’s my understanding that you’re concerned about the safety of everyone involved –

MR. TONER: Precisely.

QUESTION: — and that if there’s someone running around and trying to –

MR. TONER: Precisely. We’re concerned. This is about –

QUESTION: — sabotaging these ships, that’s a safety issue.

MR. TONER: This is about people’s safety. Again, I just – it’s hard for me to speak to because we don’t have any independent confirmation these ships have actually been sabotaged. We’ve just seen press reports and what these flotilla representatives have said. But certainly, we don’t want to see – you’re absolutely right; our emphasis is on the safety of the individuals involved.

QUESTION: Just a quick follow-up. Yesterday it was the Greek ship, Giuliano; today it was the Irish ship. So there are more than one incident. And then yesterday, there were fishermans in waters where there are no fish. I mean, I know it is – gasoline and things like this, so they appear suddenly. So you must be keeping tabs on that, or someone must be? Do you –

MR. TONER: I don’t have any comment.

QUESTION: Okay. Would you equally also say that it is not a good idea to sabotage these ships in any way?

MR. TONER: I would just reiterate what I just said to Matt, is – our bottom line is we don’t want to see anyone put at risk, and that would include any action to sabotage these boats, but also the boats themselves, the flotillas themselves, will put these individuals at risk.

Yeah. Go ahead.

QUESTION: Change of topic?

MR. TONER: Sure.

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14 Responses

  1. Kathleen
    July 1, 2011, 9:25 am

    If not for Matt Lee these questions would not be asked

    June 30, 2011

    Tell the US State Department to let the flotilla sail to Gaza!

    Dear CODEPINK,

    As you may know, I am in Greece with a group of international activists who are trying to set sail on the Freedom Flotilla II to Gaza. The US boat, the Audacity of Hope, was scheduled to sail last weekend, but we are still anxiously awaiting permission from the Greek government, which is being pressured by Israel and the United States to prevent our departure. Will you call on the US State Department to stop impeding our mission?

    link to codepink4peace.org

  2. Dan Crowther
    July 1, 2011, 9:28 am

    So the State department has to use reporters to get a message to the Israeli’s now?

  3. MHughes976
    July 1, 2011, 9:32 am

    Again we hear that there are ways of getting assistance to the people of Gaza, as if that were a permissible objective, yet at other times we hear that the act of delivering material assistance to the people of Gaza is, seeing (presumably) that they are under terrorist control, illegal. Is the difference made by using a mode of delivery which not only attempts to transmit goods but makes the point that in the opinion of the deliverers the blockade is illegal? The rhetoric implicitly surrounding the act rather than the act itself?

  4. Chaos4700
    July 1, 2011, 9:41 am

    That’s what they say right now. Just wait until the next leak though. “America doesn’t torture.” Right.

  5. Avi_
    July 1, 2011, 10:00 am

    MR. TONER: it’s hard for me to speak to because we don’t have any independent confirmation these ships have actually been sabotaged. We’ve just seen press reports and what these flotilla representatives have said.

    I can’t imagine Toner, DoS or anyone in the US government ever holding the Israeli army to such burden of proof, let alone themselves (Think Obama’s statements on the bin Laden assassination and how the American media and people accepted the entire sequence of events as undeniable truth).

    It wasn’t so “hard for [his predecessors] to speak [...]” when an independent inquiry led by Goldstone concluded that Israel committed war crimes in Gaza. At the time, the US government and its spokespersons made statements asserting that the report was flawed and biased. Why? They don’t say.

  6. Sherri Munnerlyn
    July 1, 2011, 10:00 am

    I just read The Audacity Of Hope left the dock to set sail for Gaza at 4:45 pm Greece time. They await to see if Greek Authorities take action to stop them. May God be with them and deliver them safely to Gaza.

    • Mndwss
      July 1, 2011, 11:32 am

      If your God existed he would tell the US and Israel to back off.

      He would use thunder and lightning.

      And i am sure Jesus would agree.

  7. Citizen
    July 1, 2011, 10:15 am

    From Twitter, 10 minutes ago:
    972magazine +972 magazine
    Joseph Dana over phone from US boat to Gaza: we have left port 30 min ago #flotilla2

    My government spokesperson: “…the boats themselves, the flotillas themselves, will put these individuals at risk.”

    Yeah, blame it on the boats–they can’t speak for themselves.

  8. lysias
    July 1, 2011, 10:28 am

    According to the Washington Post today, Netanyahu’s office didn’t deny that Israel had sabotaged the vessels, only saying that the people claiming that it had were not reliable.

    Then, this morning, on Democracy Now!, an Israeli diplomat again refused, when asked point blank, to deny that Israel had sabotaged the vessels, merely repeating the usual blather about the flotilla being provocative and there being better ways to get the aid to Gaza.

  9. Mndwss
    July 1, 2011, 11:43 am

    What career can Toner have after this job?

    Dershowitz is old and may need someone to take over soon.

  10. Les
    July 1, 2011, 1:05 pm

    It’s so much more convenient to order Greece’s social democrats to do that for us.

  11. kalithea
    July 1, 2011, 1:06 pm

    Translation:

    Are human rights important to you?: In most cases it suits us to care and appear compassionate, but definitely not in the case of Palestinians.

    What do you have to say to the victims of these terrorist saboteurs?: It’s your fault, you idiots! And only Israeli terrorist acts are exempt under the law.

    Do you have anything else to add?: Yes…STOP TESTING OUR ALLEGIANCE!

  12. seafoid
    July 1, 2011, 5:53 pm

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