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Saturday, March 14, 2009
Israel lauds Gaza smuggling plan [only inspect boats that agree to be inspected]

Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA:

"...any vessel whose captain refuses to allow the ship to be boarded for an
inspection will not be forced to submit to the procedure. "

And this is welcomed by Israel?]

Israel lauds Gaza smuggling plan

Mar. 14, 2009
mark weiss and ap , THE JERUSALEM POST
www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1236764180960&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull
Israel welcomed a weekend agreement by the US, Canada and seven European
states to coordinate efforts to stop the flow of weapons into Gaza.

Representatives of the nine countries, at a meeting in London on Friday,
agreed on a series of measures including maritime interception, information
sharing and diplomatic pressure.

Israeli representatives attended the gathering as observers, but the
Egyptian government declined an offer to participate.

The Palestinian Authority also did not attend, officials said.

British officials said it was agreed to use existing United Nations
resolutions as a legal basis for their efforts rather than seek new legal
authority to prevent weapons from reaching Gaza.

Mark Regev, the spokesman for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, described the
action plan as an important development.

"This is a sign of the international community's commitment to dealing with
the issue of illicit weapons transfer from Iran to Gaza, and Israel of
course supports such efforts," Regev said. "The principle is clear: The
international community will act to prevent the transfer of weapons."

The US and Britain were joined by Norway, Germany, France, Canada, Italy,
the Netherlands and Denmark in the campaign. The meeting in London on Friday
followed one in Denmark last month.

A senior British diplomat who spoke on condition of anonymity said the nine
countries, all NATO members, agreed that "noncoercive" methods would be used
to clamp down on the arms flow.

That means, he said, that any vessel whose captain refuses to allow the ship
to be boarded for an inspection will not be forced to submit to the
procedure.

Officials said diplomatic, military, intelligence and law enforcement
resources would be used against arms smugglers, but cautioned that it would
take time to shut down the well-established smuggling routes into Gaza.

The group agreed to hold meetings in Canada next month to work out details,
the officials said.

A statement spelling out the strategy would be posted on the Foreign Office
Web site Monday, officials said.

Western diplomats hope to prevent another round of fighting in part from
cutting off the arms flow, much of which is said to arrive by sea.

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