Israeli MK Basel Ghattas (Joint Arab List) was on board the Marianne. The IDF stated that the military action was implemented in accordance with the government and after all diplomatic attempts to prevent the boat from reaching Gaza had been made.
"The boat interception took place after numerous calls were made to those on board," the IDF spokesperson unit statement said. "When the activists made it clear they had no intention of cooperating and accepting the invitation to dock at the Ashdod Port, it was decided to seize the vessel and escort it to the port."
The boat is currently making its way to Israel. Israeli Navy officials estimated that it would take it between 12 and 24 hours to get there. The activists on board will be sent back to their home countries upon arriving in Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the Navy soldiers and commanders for intercepting the boat, which he said was attempting to reach the Gaza coastline against the law. "This flotilla is none other than a demonstration of lies and hypocrisy, which helps the Hamas terror organization and disregards all the horrors in our region," Netanyahu stressed.
"Preventing the boats from entering Israel's territorial waters was performed in accordance with international law. The Navy's action was backed by a UN Secretary-General committee," the Prime Minister added. "Israel is a democracy that defends itself. We will not allow for weapons to be delivered to terror organizations in Gaza through the sea as was done in the past."
Upon embarking the Marianne, IDF soldiers handed a written letter to the flotilla activists clarifying that their attempts to portray Israel as a country that violates human rights are false. "You may have intended to sail somewhere not far from here, to Syria, where Assad's regime slaughters the Syrian people every day with the support of Iran's murderous regime," the letter read. "However, here in Israel we deal with a reality where terror organizations like Hamas are trying to hurt innocent people. We protect our citizens from these attempts in accordance with international law."