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Report: Obama Nixed Anti-Riot Gear on Flotilla
The White House has not commented on the report.
The report claimed that Defense Minister Ehud Barak accepted Obama's demand, possibly due to his hopes that America will agree to sell advanced weapons to Israel.
It says that the American demand was made despite Israeli intelligence reports indicating possible danger aboard one ship, the Mavi Marmara, which carried primarily Turkish citizens, many of them members of the pro-terrorist IHH organization. Intelligence agents had found that many of the Turkish passengers were trained in weapons use and hand-to-hand combat; their assessments were relayed to the White House.
Ultimately, soldiers boarded the ships with paintball guns and pistols instead of traditional anti-riot gear such as tear gas and rubber bullets. They were quickly overpowered by passengers on the Mavi Marmara, who were armed with clubs and knives. After two soldiers were critically wounded and dragged below deck, a commando opened fire , killing nine passengers and successfully ending the attack.
Obama did not condemn the IDF response, but since the flotilla incident, he has sought to ease tension with Turkey, and has called on Israel to ease its blockade on Gaza.
Busy Day Begins for Barak
Later in the day, the Labor party chairman was scheduled to meet with Director Leon Panetta of the Central Intelligence Agency. Just before 11 p.m. Israel time, he will meet with Vice President Joe Biden at the White House. Joining that meeting will be White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and National Security Advisor James Jones. Other officials on the agenda are State Department adviser Dennis Ross and president Robert Wexler of the Washington-based Center for Middle East Peace and Economic Cooperation.