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U.N. Flotilla Report Confirms Israeli Stance

Finds ‘excessive’ force and, contra Turkey, says blockade is legal

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A protest in the West Bank in June 2010.(Abbas Momani/AFP/Getty Images)

The Palmer Report—the United Nations’ investigation into the Memorial Day 2010 Turkish-backed, Gaza-bound flotilla, in which Israeli soldiers killed nine onboard the Mavi Marmara—has leaked in advance of its official release, likely tomorrow. You can read it here (thanks NYT!). As expected, it declares Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza to be legal: “The naval blockade as a measure of the use of force was adopted for the purpose of defending its territory and population,” it concludes. Also as expected, it finds that the Israeli military used “excessive and unreasonable” force; chillingly, it reports, “forensic evidence showing that most of the deceased were shot multiple times, including in the back, or at close range has not been adequately accounted for in the material presented by Israel.” Finally, as expected, it calls on Israel to express regret and offer some compensation to victims’ families, and for Israel and Turkey to resume full diplomatic relations.

At first glance, these seem like a balanced, “on the one hand, on the other” set of conclusions. In fact, though, they are a clear—even resounding—vindication of Israel and a diplomatic defeat of Turkey. Recall that Israel itself has essentially admitted that it should have handled the flotilla differently so as not to have caused the deaths, and that it has offered to express regret and compensation, and resume full diplomatic relations. Turkey, by contrast, has insisted on an apology (as the U.N. does not), has deemed the blockade illegal (as the U.N. does not), and has called on the blockade to be lifted (as the U.N. does not).

It’s also worth noting, for those stubborn stragglers who still insist Israel murdered nine civilians in cold blood, a few other things the panel finds: that while “the majority of the flotilla participants had no violent intentions,” nonetheless “there exist serious questions about the conduct, true nature and objectives of the flotilla organizers, particularly IHH. The actions of the flotilla needlessly carried the potential for escalation.” And: “Israeli Defense Forces personnel faced significant, organized and violent resistance from a group of passengers when they boarded the Mavi Marmara requiring them to use force for their own protection. Three soldiers were captured, mistreated, and placed at risk by those passengers. Several others were wounded.”

It seems to me that Prime Minister Netanyahu made the right call in not apologizing. Turkey was banking on a U.N. report that forced Israel to beg for a rapprochement; when it didn’t get that, all that was left was for it to throw a fit and hope Israel fell for it, which it didn’t. Now it is threatening to sanction Israel. If (when?) Turkey follows through, the broader international community will see Turkey contradicting the U.N. report and Israel simply, compliantly toeing its line. Turkey is nothing if not the France of De Gaulle: chafing at no longer having the power it once had and alienating traditional allies in elaborate, emotional, and vain attempts to regain it. Like France, it will fail.

U.N. Report Finds Blockade by Israel Legal but Faults Raid [NYT]
Earlier: Should Israel Apologize to Turkey?

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I don’t get it. If the report says: “Israeli Defense Forces personnel faced significant, organized and violent resistance from a group of passengers when they boarded the Mavi Marmara requiring them to use force for their own protection. Three soldiers were captured, mistreated, and placed at risk by those passengers. Several others were wounded.” How did the people who wrote the report expect the soldiers to defend themselves, by trying to convince them not to wound and capture them?
And the Turks are simply unbelievable hypocrites; they support their Palestinian “brothers” while they themselves occupy half of Cyprus and oppress the Kurds.

Why is it “chilling” to to find the Turkish thugs were shot at close range. They were beating the IDF commandos with clubs and chains and stabbing them with knives. That’s the definition of close-quarters combat. Given that, you would expect the thugs to be shot at well… close range.

Being shot multiple times also isn’t very “chilling.” Typically, police, commandos and such are trained to double tap — that is shoot twice — and then reassess the situation. If the target still posses a threat, they then double tap again and repeat.

Given that the commandos were using 9mm, it’s not surprising that it took more than two rounds to stop a threat. A 9mm just doesn’t have that much stopping power. Also, it’s not “chilling” that people were shot in the back. This was a combat situation where the report acknowledges that the thugs were trying to harm the commandos. If somebody shoots a thug in the back to prevent him from killing a comrade, that’s hardly chilling and certainly not outside the rules of war.

Lets be honest. What the report really says is that Israel and the commandos weren’t nice to people who wanted to kill them. It’s silly really, but as UN reports go, it is as Tracy said, a real victory for Israel. The problem of course is the damage has been done. The lies have been told and facts won’t change people’s perceptions. The flotilla lie will persist just as the Jenin lie has.

Israel needs to do a better job on the front end. It can’t wait for the facts to come out and vindicate it.

Ephraim says:

Serves the Turks good and proper. The report is not a complete vindication of Israel as it should have been, but that the UN was even this forthcoming is, frankly, astonishing, considering what an anti-Semitic cesspool it usually is.

When those bashi-bazouks make amends for their genocide of the Armenians, stop oppressing the Kurds, end their illegal occupation of Cyprus, and stop supporting Palestinian terrorism, I may be bothered to listen to whay they say.

Unitl then, I’ve got better things to do than to pay any attention whatsoever to their self-righteous and hypocritical snivelling and whining.

It’s a good day for the Kurds, Cypriots and Greeks. With a bit of luck and strategic thinking these various nations’ occupied territories may be freed in a few years.

What a bunch of lies. I saw the ORIGINAl and it sure wasn’t what “you” Israel is espousing. Only idiots would believe this crap.

Why do you lie. I saw the original and it sure isn’t what you – Israel is trying to put out.


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U.N. Flotilla Report Confirms Israeli Stance

Finds ‘excessive’ force and, contra Turkey, says blockade is legal

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