Mark Regev, spokesman for the Prime Minister of Israel, has stated that "the San Remo memorandum states, specifically 67A, that if you have a boat that is charging a blockaded area you are allowed to intercept even prior to it reaching the blockaded area if you've warned them in advance, and that we did a number of times and they had a stated goal which they openly expressed, of breaking the blockade. That blockade is in place to protect our people."
Senior political analyst Marwan Bishara of Al Jazeera has stated that "Attacking other nations' citizens in international waters because they resisted arrest is not only illegal, but serves to demean international legal norms." Turkey, the unofficial sponsor of the mission has said through its Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, "this attack is state terrorism, violating international law." The Turkish government has requested NATO convene in an emergency session to discuss the incident.
Robin Churchill, a professor of international law at the University of Dundee in Scotland, said the Israeli commandos boarded the ship outside of Israel's territorial waters. "As far as I can see, there is no legal basis for boarding these ships," Churchill said.
Dr. Robbie Sabel of Hebrew University, an international law expert, has stated that "a state, in a time of conflict, can impose an embargo, and while it cannot carry out embargo activities in the territorial waters of a third party, it can carry out embargo activities in international waters. Within this framework it is legal to detain a civilian vessel trying to break an embargo and if in the course of detaining the vessel, force is used against the forces carrying out the detention then that force has every right to act in self defense."
On Monday, a group of lawyers including Avigdor Feldman, Yiftah Cohen, Itamar Mann and Omer Shatz petitioned the Israeli High Court, charging that Israel had violated the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea by capturing the boats in international waters. Robbie Sabel, the former legal adviser to the Israeli foreign ministry, told The Jerusalem Post that the state would almost certainly argue that the seizure of the vessels was an executive act with which the court was not authorized to intervene.
Navi Pillay, the UN high commissioner for human rights, said she was registering shock "at reports that humanitarian aid was met with violence early this morning, reportedly causing death and injury as the convoy approached the Gaza coast" and that "nothing can justify the appalling outcome of this operation, which reportedly took place in international waters.
" Voice of Russia reported that "Russia calls attention to the fact that the Israeli interception of a Gaza-bound international aid flotilla took place in international waters, which represents a gross violation of international law". The Organization of the Islamic Conference, an association of 57 Islamic states promoting Muslim solidarity, described the flotilla incident as "a serious escalation and a flagrant violation of the international law and human values." The organization further said it would initiate action at the level of the Security Council and the Human Rights Commission to examine the fallout of the attack.
Ove Bring, expert on public international law, said that Israel had no right to take military action.