- Two earlier articles discussed them in detail, accessed
through the following links:
- Last September, the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), issued
its damning findings on Israel's Flotilla I massacre, killing nine and
wounding dozens of peaceful humanitarian activists heading for Gaza with
- As a result, HRC:
- "concluded that a series of violations of international
law, including international humanitarian and human rights law, were committed
by the Israeli forces during the interception of the flotilla and during
the detention of passengers in Israel prior to deportation."
- Under international law, Israel's blockade is illegal.
Imposing it caused a grave humanitarian crisis, affecting nearly 1.7 million
Gazans, mostly civilians. Aid is vitally needed. Blocking it is a crime
against humanity. Moreover, Israel's international waters interdiction
- A "vessel on the high seas (posing no threat) is
subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of its flag State."
- Under the laws of armed conflict, "a blockade is
- (a) it has the sole purpose of starving the civilian
population or denying it other objects essential for its survival; or
- (b) the damage to the civilian population is, or may
be expected to be, excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military
advantage anticipated from the blockade."
- In other words, no blockade is permitted it it inflicts
disproportionate harm to civilians. Israel has done it maliciously for
over four years, collectively punishing Gazans illegally, despite admitting
no security threat exists.
- HRC said Israel's interdiction was lawless "since
there was no legal basis for the Israeli forces to conduct an assault and
interception in international waters." Moreover, in doing so, Israel
was "obligated" under international law and its own "international
human rights obligations."
- HRC thus concluded that force used "was unnecessary,
disproportionate, excessive, inappropriate and resulted in the wholly avoidable
killing and maiming of a large number of civilian passengers."
- Moreover, Israel made "a deliberate attempt....to
suppress or destroy evidence," besides fabricating its own version
of events, including fake videos and other falsified materials.
- Despite indisputable crimes against humanity and piracy,
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon named his own, largely pro-Israeli commission,
mocking justice and his own credibility in the process.
- Former New Zealand Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer chaired
it along with former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe as vice-chairman.
His appalling record in office and contempt for human rights should have
automatically disqualified him.
- Notably, he was tainted by corruption and scandal, with
close links to his country's drug cartels and paramilitary death squads,
responsible for murdering thousands of trade unionists, campesinos, human
rights workers, journalists, and others opposing Colombia's narco-state
terrorism and ties to US imperialism.
- On July 7, Reuters headlined, "UN report on Gaza
flotilla delayed to enable Israeli-Turkey talks," saying:
- The Palmer/Uribe report "will be published on July
27 after delays to" allow more time to resolve disputes between Israel
and Turkey. Nonetheless, Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steiniz expects
a favorable ruling for Israel, saying:
- "From what we understand, the report justifies the
(Gaza) blockade. It (calls it) legitimate, (and) that Israel took legitimate
steps," despite indisputable international law otherwise, what no
UN or other commission can reverse.
- As a result, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu
said "an outcome that contradicts the UN Human Rights Commission report
will be unacceptable" because Turkish citizens (a Turkish American
among them with duel citizenships) were willfully targeted and murdered
in cold blood, some shot multiple times at point blank range, including
in the head.
- On July 7, Turkey's Today's Zaman writers Sezai Kalayci
and Emine Kart headlined, "UN to advise Israel to offer apology and
pay compensation to Turkey," saying:
- "Although the report is complete, it has not officially
been released yet." It's expected to call Israel's siege legal. If
so, "it would spark a harsh reaction from Turkey."
- An anonymous Turkish official said:
- "If they really drafted a report saying that the
blockage is legal, then it means that they do not have the slightest idea
about international law. Drafting such a report would mean that they are
not relying on international legal norms but instead, they are creating
a new international legal norm that does not actually exist."
- The official added that legalizing Israel's blockade
will render the report "legally invalid." Moreover, Israel's
international waters massacre was lawless cold-blooded murder. Those responsible
should be held fully accountable and prosecuted.
- Kalayci and Kart did say the report blames Israel for
prematurely using force and causing "unacceptable" deaths with
no "explanation" given to justify them. Nonviolent options, in
fact, are mandated. Instead, Israel resorted to violence against unarmed
peaceful activists, not terrorists as unjustly claimed.
- Moreover, Turkey has autopsy evidence showing the brutality
of Israel's attack, whether or not the report will say so.
- On July 7, AFP headlined, "Israel-Turkey flotilla
talks 'break down,' " saying:
- The UN report "accused Israel of using force prematurely
and causing 'unacceptable' deaths (that) killed nine" Turkish citizens
in May 2010. "Israel and Turkey failed to reach agreement." Nonetheless,
both sides are trying to resolve differences, reach agreement, and end
months of strained relations.
- On July 8, Reuters headlined, "Turkey PM: Israel
must still apologize for last year's Gaza flotilla raid," saying:
- Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan "said on Friday
that it was 'unthinkable' to normalize ties with Israel" without an
apology for killing nine Turkish citizens. He also stated two other normalizing
conditions, including lifting Gaza's siege and paying compensation to
survivors of victims killed and directly to those injured. Moreover, he
called attacking the Mavi Marmara mother ship an "atrocious event,
(violating) all international laws and values...."
- On July 6, the Mossad-connected DEBKAfile headlined,
"Erdogan again shuts the door on Israel when UN affirms Gaza blockade
- Discussions "between Israeli and Turkish delegations
broke down when it became apparent that the Turkish side demanded that
the Palmer report be rewritten to clear its prime minister of a faulty
- Moreover, Turkey's Foreign Minister Davutoglu again demanded
an Israeli apology "as a must to reestablish relations....But this
is not going to happen."
- Both Netanyahu and Foreign Minister/Deputy Prime Minister
Avigdor Lieberman pledged no apology would be forthcoming because there
was "no reason to bow to humiliation or allow Israeli soldiers to
be wrongfully accused."
- However, DEBKA believes Erdogan will restore ties with
Israel after the UN report "storm blows over and it is safely tucked
away in UN archives." Washington's ambassador to Turkey suggested
it saying, "We believe that the two countries will work together again."
Realpolitik usually trumps rule of law, right over might, and other less
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
- Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and
listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive
Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central
time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy