Perry Wades Into Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Gov. Rick Perry outside the House chamber on May 28, 2011.
Gov. Rick Perry outside the House chamber on May 28, 2011.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, considering a run for the White House, is wading into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Perry sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder this week calling plans by pro-Palestinian activists to protest and potentially disrupt Israel's naval blockade of Gaza an "unacceptable provocation." An international group of activists opposed to the restrictions have announced plans to launch a flotilla this week to protest the naval blockade. 

The letter, dated June 28, underscores the widening reach of Perry's interest in national and international affairs.

"As an American citizen and governor of one of its largest states, I write to applaud your recent efforts to warn and discourage those who have supported or plan to support a flotilla intended to interfere with Israel's maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip," Perry wrote. "I write to encourage you to aggressively pursue all available legal remedies to enjoin and prevent these illegal actions, and to prosecute any who may elect to engage in them in spite of your preemptive efforts."

Perry made note of media reports suggesting that "violent anti-Israel organizations" are planning to disrupt Israel's naval blockade "as early as this week." Israel says its blockade of Gaza is aimed at stopping weapons from being smuggled into the terriotry. Flotilla organizers say they want Israel to lift restrictions on the movement of people and goods into Gaza. When a flotilla challenged the maritime blockade a little over a year ago, Israeli commandos boarded one of the ships and killed nine people in a controversial operation after they said they ran into resistance from the pro-Palestinian activists.

Following a wave of international criticism from the event,  the Jewish nation lifted some of its restrictions on Gaza, a move that boosted the local economy, according to news reports.

Flotilla organizers say they plan a peaceful protest.

It's not the first time this year that Perry has let the Obama Administration know how he feels about what's happening in in Israel. But it wasn't to applaud the Administration's stance. In May, Perry issued a press release slamming the president for advocating an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal based largely on the land borders that were in place before the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

"President Obama's speech today continues a misguided policy of alienating our traditional allies, in this case Israel, one of our strongest partners in the war on terror," Perry said on the day Obama laid out the new initiative. "As someone who has visited Israel numerous times, I know that it is impracticable to revert to the 1967 lines. President Obama is asking our Israeli friends to give up too much security and territory as a prelude to a renewed peace process."

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