Netanyahu: Gaza Ship Activists 'Wanted to Die'

White House to call for halt to blockade
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Jun 3, 2010 4:24 AM CDT
Demonstrators chant slogans as they welcome Turkish activists expelled from Israel, at the airport in Istanbul, Turkey, early today.   (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
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(Newser) – Some of the pro-Palestinian activists killed by Israeli commandos on an aid flotilla to Gaza wanted to die to become "martyrs" for their cause, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanhayu insisted yesterday. This "was not the Love Boat," but an operation "directed by terrorists," he added. The nation is sticking to its hard line position in the face of continued harsh international criticism, notes the Telegraph. Even Israel's staunchest ally intends to call for an end to Israel's Gaza blockade in the wake of the raid.

The Obama administration considers the blockade untenable, and will press for other security strategies, sources tell the New York Times. Meanwhile, witness reports continue to emerge about the deadly raid. Commandos claim they were armed with paintball guns and only had loaded pistols for defense, reports AP. While they met little or no resistance from most protesters on the 6-ship flotilla, activists on the Mavi Marmara were poised to tackle and beat commandos as they were lowered to the deck by a Black Hawk helicopter, say troops.

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