On Tuesday’s Special Report with Bret Baier, FNC correspondent Dana Lewis filed a report in which he noted some of those on board the Gaza-bound ships that were boarded by Israel were from a Yemeni group that has "murky links to al-Qaeda," and others from an extreme group in Turkey believed by Israelis to have terrorist links: "But among the hundreds, these three parliamentarians from Yemen's Islah Party, a group known to have murky links to al-Qaeda, and others from Turkey's IHH organization. The Israeli government says they're extremists with documented connections to terrorist organizations." The report also recounted that anti-Semitic attacks were chanted by those who attacked Israeli commandos: "In an interview with Fox News, Israel's ambassador to the U.S. said those on the ship were chanting, ‘Death to Jews.’"
On the same day’s Fox and Friends, FNC’s Peter Johnson, Jr., recounted that the Israelis allow much humanitarian aid into Gaza on a regular basis, and that they had also offered to screen and deliver aid from the flotilla of ships before the confrontation: "We know that 15,000 tons of humanitarian aid goes to Gaza every week that's sanctioned by Israel. They do check it for explosive materials, they check it for concrete that's being used to build tunnels. But if the real purpose of the mission was to bring humanitarian aid to the folks in Gaza, Israel said, ‘Listen, bring these six ships to this port in Israel, we will inspect it, unload it, and we will bring the permitted materials to the people of Gaza.’ If the real goal was humanitarian aid, then why was it necessary to state before these horrible deaths that we intended to run this gauntlet no matter what the costs?"
The broadcast networks ABC and NBC have only given brief attention to the flotilla’s links to terrorist groups, while CBS has ignored such connections.
On Monday’s Good Morning America, ABC’s Simon McGregor-Wood filed a report which included a soundbite of Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon: "The organizers are well known for their ties to global jihad, al-Qaeda and Hamas."
On Tuesday’s World News, ABC’s McGregor-Wood reported: "Israel claimed this convoy was different – much larger and organized by a Turkish charity it accuses of extremism. Despite that and the violence, Israelis checked through the cargo today and transferred it to Gaza anyway."
On Monday’s Today show, NBC’s Stephanie Gosk reported: "Activists from the Free Gaza Movement say they had two goals: deliver aid to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, and break the three-year-long blockade imposed by Israel. They claim it was a peaceful mission, but Israeli officials say organizers have links to terror groups."
Below is a complete transcript of the relevant story from the Tuesday, June 1, Special Report with Bret Baier, followed by the relevant portion of the same day’s Fox and Friends on FNC:
#From Special Report with Bret Baier:
BRET BAIER; Accusations and demands are flying in the wake of Monday's Israeli commando raid on a flotilla bound for Gaza. Turkey is demanding that Israel be punished for what it calls a bloody massacre and that the blockade on Gaza be lifted. Today, the Obama administration also weighed in. Correspondent Dana Lewis is following the story from Jerusalem.
DANA LEWIS: Governments across Europe and the Middle East called it even before the Israeli army released these pictures, a botched bloody assault by Israeli Navy SEALs on a convoy of eight ships heading for the blockaded Gaza Strip. In a hospital, an Israeli commando shot with his own weapon by one of the activists was visited by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu who cancelled a trip to Washington to deal with the crisis. Israel maintains soldiers fired weapons in self-defense, today displaying knives and clubs and iron bars they say were used in a frenzied attack on troops who were caught off guard by the ferocity of the activists. In an interview with Fox News, Israel's ambassador to the U.S. said those on the ship were chanting, "Death to Jews."
MICHAEL OREN, ISRAELI AMBASSADOR TO U.S.: This is a boat that was under the control of an extremist Turkish organization. Not every boat is under that control.
LEWIS: Who were they? More than 600 people from the ships were taken to Ella prison, 14 of them American. But among the hundreds, these three parliamentarians from Yemen's Islah Party, a group known to have murky links to al-Qaeda, and others from Turkey's IHH organization. The Israeli government says they're extremists with documented connections to terrorist organizations. But Israel now says all of the prisoners will be deported over the next 48 hours, except those who assaulted Israeli commandos. Israeli newspaper headlines scream "fiasco on the high seas." A front page editorial called key government ministers "idiots." Another newspaper called it "flotilla fiasco." But Israel said it had to search the ships to determine if the aid convoy was really carrying humanitarian aid or weapons. Dock side today, the stark answer. Only children's toys, boxes of medical supplies, hospital beds, walkers and wheelchairs – mostly from Turkey – which also facilitated the six-ship flotilla.
BAIER: But you didn't find any on this shipment?
ORREN: We haven't finished going through it all yet, to tell you the truth.
LEWIS: A furious Turkish prime minister called the raid a "massacre" and labeled Israel an aggressive state that must answer for its deeds. And today, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed concern about the blockade on Gaza but wouldn't condemn it either.
HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: The situation in Gaza is unsustainable and unacceptable. Israel's legitimate security needs must be met just as the Palestinians' legitimate needs for sustained humanitarian assistance.
LEWIS: We're now hearing from some of the Israeli commanders, Bret, that they had the wrong equipment, the wrong intelligence, the wrong gear to go into that raid. And now we're hearing that two more ships are heading towards this blockade, humanitarian assistance ships. They're going to run the Israeli blockade, and the Israeli army telling me tonight that despite what's happened over the last couple of days they intend to stop the ships, too. Back to you, Bret.
#From Fox and Friends:
PETER JOHNSON JR.: We need to understand in the factual rundown of this – and we’ll know in the coming days – is this a matter of people being killed trying to render humanitarian aid? Or is this a matter of people dying trying to stop a blockade that Israel has imposed against Gaza – with Egypt as you pointed out earlier in the show – since 2007?
BRIAN KILMEAD Six ships, five boarded no problem. The sixth one was the problem. Now, in it, they say they want to make sure there was no materials to make these tunnels like cement and building supplies. There were 10,000 tons of building supplies on this. Here’s what the flotilla organizer said before the incident, quote, "We fully intend to go to Gaza regardless of any intimidation or threats of violence against us. They are going to have to forcefully stop us."
JOHNSON JR.: In terms of humanitarian aid, we know that 15,000 tons of humanitarian aid goes to Gaza every week that’s sanctioned by Israel. They do check it for explosive materials, they check it for concrete that’s being used to build tunnels. But if the real purpose of the mission was to bring humanitarian aid to the folks in Gaza, Israel said, "Listen, bring these six ships to this port in Israel-"
KILMEAD: We’ll unload it for you.
JOHNSON JR.: "-we will inspect it, unload it, and we will bring the permitted materials to the people of Gaza. If the real goal was humanitarian aid, then why was it necessary to state before these horrible deaths that we intended to run this gauntlet no matter what the costs?"