When pressure for an international investigation swelled after the killings, Israel refused to cooperate with independent reviews but assured us all that Israel would conduct an inquiry into what happened. And to no one’s surprise, Israel has now concluded that it did nothing wrong.
Along with the report’s release:
Israel also plans to launch an international public relations campaign about the Turkel report’s findings.
That PR plan will be hampered however by the release by Al Jazeera and the Guardian of an immense cache of secret documents which detail negotiations and plans related to the occupation. I’ll be discussing that in another post in the coming days but first, it’s important to note how far from accountable Israel has chosen to be as they whitewash the killing of nine activist on the Mavi Mamara.
The Jerusalem Post lists the issues covered in Part one as:
·Whether or not the naval blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip by Israel conformed with the rules of international law
·An assessment of the actions taken by the IDF to enforce the naval blockade
·An examination of the actions taken by the organizers of the flotilla and its participants and their identity
and after mentioning the limitations on the investigation – the commission was not allowed to question any of the soldiers involved, also noted last night before the release that:
It is almost certain that the committee will uphold the legality of Israel’s naval blockade and its right to board the vessel in order to prevent it from reaching the Gaza Strip. At least two of the committee members, Horev and Merhav, openly defended Israel’s actions during its questioning of some of witnesses, particularly the Israeli Arabs and the human rights representatives.
The report does precisely that with the findings summarized by Haaretz:
Israeli soldiers who took part in a raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla last May which resulted in the deaths of nine people had acted in self-defense, according to the first part of a report by an Israeli panel of inquiry into the incident, which was released Sunday…
The report also determined that Israel had been in compliance with the formal conditions of enforcing a naval blockade on the Gaza Strip, adding that Israel had also complied with the humanitarian conditions for such a blockade.
“The truth is simple,” said Netanyahu. “IDF soldiers defended themselves and their country. It is not only their privilege but also their duty and the State of Israel stands behind their actions.”
I’m not sure how you can watch the video above, of Israeli soldiers kicking a man on the ground then shooting him and agree.
Nor can it have any credibility when even Hanin Zoabi, a member of the Israeli Knesset who was on the Mavi Mamara noted that:
she was not summoned to testify by the Turkel Commission. “The commission purposely and intentionally failed to summon the civilian and the only witness to see what happened out of fear her testimony would damage the harmony of the report,” she said.
“The report is a scanty version of the official Israeli version. The report cannot clear Israel’s image as a serial international law breaker,” Zoabi added.
It’s important to remember that this “report” was Israel’s answer to international calls for an investigation – an Israeli distraction from the calls for action under international law, and of course, an Israeli action backed by the Obama administration who has shown similar disregard for legal accountability for its own actions and those of its predecessors.