REUTERS - Israeli commandos stormed a convoy of Gaza-bound aid ships on Monday and more than 10 of the mostly international activists aboard were killed, provoking a diplomatic crisis.
Here is some international reaction to the incident:
PALESTINIAN PRESIDENT MAHMOUD ABBAS:
-- “What Israel has committed on board the Freedom Flotilla was a massacre.”
He declared three days of official mourning for the dead.
TURKISH PRESIDENT ABDULLAH GUL:
-- Gul said in a statement that Ankara is demanding an inquiry into the violent interdiction of the Turkey-backed convoy and the punishment of the culprits.
-- Turkey said on Monday it had called for an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council.
ARAB LEAGUE CHIEF AMR MOUSSA:
-- Amr Moussa called on Monday for an emergency meeting to discuss what the body that groups 22 Arab states described as Israel’s “terrorist act”.
“The Arab League strongly condemns this terrorist act.”
IRANIAN PRESIDENT MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD:
-- “The inhuman acts of the Zionist regime against Palestinians and preventing humanitarian aid to the Gaza people does not show the strength of the Zionist regime but shows its weakness,” Ahmadinejad told state broadcaster IRIB. “All these acts indicate the end of the heinous and fake regime and will bring it closer to the end of its existence.”
FRENCH PRESIDENT NICOLAS SARKOZY:
-- “The President of the Republic expresses his profound emotion in the face of the tragic consequences of the Israeli military operation,” Sarkozy’s office said. “He condemns the disproportionate use of force and addresses his condolences to the families of the victims,” it said.
ITALIAN FOREIGN MINISTER FRANCO FRATTINI:
-- “I deplore in the strongest terms the killing of civilians. This is certainly a grave act”.
BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY WILLIAM HAGUE:
“I deplore the loss of life during the interception of the Gaza Flotilla...We have consistently advised against attempting to access Gaza in this way, because of the risks involved. But at the same time, there is a clear need for Israel to act with restraint and in line with international obligations...”
GERMAN GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN ULRICH WILHELM:
-- “The German government is shocked by events in the international waters by Gaza...”
-- “Every German government supports unconditionally Israel’s right to self defence,” said Wilhelm, but added that Israeli actions should to correspond to what he described as the “basic principle” of proportionality.
-- “High Representative Catherine Ashton expresses her deep regret at the news of loss of life and violence and extends her sympathies to families of the dead and wounded,” said a spokesperson for Ashton, the EU’s foreign policy chief.
-- “On behalf of the European Union she demands a full enquiry about the circumstances in which this happened... The continued policy of closure is unacceptable and politically counter-productive. She calls for an immediate, sustained and unconditional opening of the crossing for the flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods and persons to and from Gaza,” the spokesperson said.
NORWEGIAN PRIME MINISTER JENS STOLTENBERG:
-- “This underlines that the blockade of Gaza should be ended as soon as possible,” Stoltenberg told reporters. “This type of military action is unacceptable. The shootings must be investigated and documented. It is clear that this is a use of force against civilians.”
SPANISH SECRETARY OF STATE [for the European Union] DIEGO LOPEZ GARRIDO:
-- Spain unequivocally condemns the Israeli attack on the humanitarian flotilla and it does so as a country and as the acting president of the EU Council. Spain has summoned the Israeli ambassador to ask him for explanations of the attack.
DUTCH FOREIGN MINISTER MAXIME VERHAGEN:
-- “I want the Israeli ambassador in The Hague to provide clarification today on this,” Verhagen said in a statement. “The Netherlands wants an investigation specifically into how this could have happened.”
GREEK DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER DIMITRIS DROUTSAS:
-- “There is no excuse. The level of violence cannot be excused ... we condemn it and this is exactly the message I conveyed this morning to the Israeli ambassador.
--“Israel must provide us with all the information demanded and (guarantee) the safety of the Greek citizens.
-- “This is a very painful fact, in particularly because of the loss of human lives,” said chief Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi. He said the Vatican was against violence “from whatever side it comes”.