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January 10, 2010 – WASHINGTON – A congressman is urging the Obama administration to investigate the Turkish aid group that tried to break the Gaza blockade last week so that it might be placed on the US terrorism watch list.
n a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent Wednesday, Ron Klein (D-Florida) noted that the State Department has confirmed that the group, Insani Yardim Vakfi, known by the English acronym IHH, has met with the leaders of US-designated terrorist groups, including Hamas.
He also pointed out that IHH refused Israeli requests to land their vessel in Ashdod for inspection and the transfer of their humanitarian goods bound for Hamas-controlled Gaza instead of attempting to break the naval blockade.
In light of that refusal, Israeli commandos boarded the Turkish- flagged Mavi Marmara ship last week, were attacked and killed nine activists in the resulting melee. Klein referred to knives, slingshots and clubs used by the IHH “with the intent to endanger or kill the members of the Israeli navy who attempted to peacefully board the ship.”
Klein additionally called for the State Department to investigate whether the Turkish government played a role in the incident.
The congressman’s letter comes on tops of calls by American and Israeli groups for the US government to investigate and hold accountable the Turkish organization and American groups involved in the flotilla.
The Anti-Defamation League on Wednesday pressed the Obama administration to designate the IHH and another group it worked with, the Union of God, as foreign terrorist organizations.
Earlier this week, Shurat HaDin – Israel Law Center wrote to US Attorney-General Eric Holder seeking an investigation into whether another group organizing the flotilla and involved with the five other ships in it – the Free Gaza Movement – had broken the US Neutrality Act.
“Despite the clear, unequivocal policy of the United States to support Israel’s right to control the security of the territorial waters around Gaza and to isolate Hamas from external support, the FGM and [its] American Educational Trust are attempting to undermine the foreign policy of both the United States and Israel,” said Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, the Israeli lawyer who heads the center.