The Israel Tax Authority inspected a package from Turkey to Gaza and found ball bearings–material that could be used in bombs or other explosives–inside a chocolate mixer.
For fear that the ball bearings could be used in bombs, the customs authority held the shipment. Upon further investigation, they discovered that some confection mixers do, indeed, use ball bearings in their mixing process. As a result, they let the shipment through, but held on to the ball bearings.
The ship’s origins in Turkey likely flagged it for closer inspection. Turkey has been a central backer of Hamas in the conflict, and Turkish Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan has compared Israeli military action in Gaza to Nazism.
On Wednesday, Turkey canceled a second “freedom flotilla” on its way to Gaza to break the Israeli naval blockade. Since Turkey canceled the flotilla, Israel allowed Turkey to bring aid to Gaza on planes.
The American Jewish Congress asked Erdogan to return his 2004 Profile of Courage Award and described him as “the most virulent anti-Israel leader in the world.” He gladly returned it due to Israel’s actions in Gaza. Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Israel’s actions amount to “ethnic cleansing and a crime against humanity.”
Due to violent, anti-Jewish protests in Turkey, Israel was forced to recall all its diplomats and their families. Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said the Turkish government did nothing to protect its citizens “as rocks were thrown at the Istanbul consulate and the Israeli flag was reportedly torn down and replaced with the Palestinian one at the Ankara embassy.” Newsweek reporter Alev Scott said the police were “lenient with protesters compared to the anti-government protests last May.”