15 June 2010
Leaders of both parties in the United States Senate have urged the Obama administration to consider placing the Turkish charity involved in the Gaza flotilla incident on the list of terrorist organizations, JTA reports. Senate majority leader Harry Reid (Democrats) and minority leader Mitch McConnell (Republicans) circulated a letter last week among colleagues that would press Obama to investigate the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), which helped to charter one the six ships of the ‘ Gaza Freedom Flotilla’.
"Israeli forces were able to safely divert five of the six ships challenging the blockage," the letter says according to the JTA news agency, adding: "However, video footage shows that the Israeli commandos who arrived on the sixth ship, which was owned by the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation were brutally attacked with iron rods, knives, and broken glass. They were forced to respond to that attack and we regret the loss of life that resulted."
Competing accounts of the melee blame both the Israeli commandos and the passengers for starting the fight. The letter alleges that IHH is affiliated with Hamas. "We recommend that your administration consider whether the IHH should be put on the list of foreign terrorist organizations, after an examination by the intelligence community, the State Department, and the Treasury Department," it says. Placement on the list makes it a crime to raise funds for such a group. The letter also encourages Obama to continue to support Israel "before international organizations such as the United Nations.
"We ask you to stand firm in the future at the United Nations Security Council and to use your veto power, if necessary, to prevent any similar biased or one-sided resolutions from passing," the letter states.
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