JERUSALEM – The Israel Defense Force (IDF) Intelligence Branch has decided to step up activity focusing on the IHH, the organization that led the recent flotilla of ships from Turkey on May 30.
Israeli security officials believe that the main failure that led to the entanglement of the Naval Commando force in the operation to stop the flotilla was an intelligence failure. The information held by the army did not provide an accurate picture to the soldiers who carried out the takeover and created a situation in which they embarked on their mission without suitable and sufficient equipment. The testimonies of the combatants gathered thus far indicate that the combatants did not know what kind of enemy they were to encounter. In the end, instead of peace activists, they were forced to battle against a large group of trained mercenaries, without any intelligence agency being aware of this. As a first step, it was decided to increase the intelligence-gathering efforts about the organization that led the flotilla, in order to prevent a similar phenomenon in the near or distant future.
“The radicalization process in Turkey and the Islamic elements that are active there require a close examination by the IDF Intelligence Branch and the Mossad of state terror organizations,” security officials said yesterday. “Even if Turkey is not an enemy state, it is unthinkable that intelligence agencies not monitor the developments and terrorist groups.”
Senior Israeli officials believe that the Turkish government was directly involved in sending the flotilla and creating the provocation. The officials said further that the goal of the flotilla was, among other things, to divert public opinion from the sanctions being put together against Turkey’s increasingly close ally, Iran. At this stage, Israeli officials are not making public accusations, but the emerging intelligence picture indicates that officials in Ankara knew about the flotilla and its purpose, and assisted it. “A flotilla of this size requires governmental involvement,” the officials said.
Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. (res.) Giora Eiland and his team have begun the military inquiry. The members of the committee began yesterday to collect material and testimonies from the different units. The committee is expected to complete its work by July 4.
Lieberman: No Point In Making Gestures Towards Turkey
“It’s a mistake to think that the Turkish position towards Israel can be changed by another effort or gesture because this is a strategic change in the Turkish leadership that stems from deep changes in Turkish society,” said Israel Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman yesterday. Lieberman spoke before members of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations in New York this past week.
Turkey has submitted an official protest this week to Israel’s ambassador in Ankara, Gabby Levy, over the demonstration that was held in Tel Aviv opposite its embassy. Officials in Ankara defined the event as an “unacceptable provocation.” Ambassador Levy said to the Turks in response that “Israel is a democratic state, and that staging an authorized demonstration was an accepted right in all democratic societies.”