Israel fires back at Harriet Sherwood

Israel’s UK Embassy Spokesperson, Amir Ofek, had a letter printed at The Guardian, regarding Harriet Sherwood’s recent fishing expeditions off the coast of Gaza (See our posts here, here, here, and here) worth noting.

The conclusion from Harriet Sherwood’s “fact-finding mission” (Troubled waters: Palestinian fishermen caught in Israel gunboat policing net, 25 July) is clear. None of the Palestinian allegations she went to check were supported by what she saw. No live fire, no interfering by the Israeli navy before the boat crossed the three miles line and no ramming of Palestinians boats. Apparently, she was left with nothing more than a long list of baseless allegations. The boat (Oliva) is well known to the Israeli Defence Force, due to it regularly provoking similar confrontations. The Oliva – with no fishermen on board – childishly provoked the otherwise uninvolved Israeli navy and crossed the three miles line. And yet the navy’s only reactions were warning sirens and use of water cannons.

Since Hamas came to power, thousands of missiles have been fired towards Israeli cities. As long as attempts to smuggle weapons into Gazacontinue, the Israeli navy will fulfil its obligation to keep its country’s citizens safe. The Palestinian fishermen should address their complaints to Hamas and demand it denounces terror as required by the international community.

Amir Ofek

Counsellor for media affairs, Embassy of Israel

Ofek’s message was a simple one – the inalienable right of a sovereign democratic state to defend itself from a terrorist movement openly dedicated to it’s destruction – but one rarely given voice at the Guardian.

Meanwhile, Sherwood’s back in Jerusalem, blogging about our movie houses, and enduring the culinary road less traveled. 

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