- Last May 31, Israeli commandos attacked and murdered
nine or more activists, injuring dozens in international waters on board
the Mavi Marmara mother ship, one of five bringing humanitarian aid to
besieged Gazans. An earlier article explained, accessed through the following
- The UK-based Stop the War Coalition called the attack
"Yet another act of Israeli barbarism." Global protests erupted.
Haaretz columnist Gideon Levy cited Israel's "propaganda machine....reach(ing)
new highs (in distributing) false information....embarrass(ing) itself
by entering a futile public relations battle," filled with malicious
fiction and deceit.
- What happened was clear. IDF commandos planned and executed
a premeditated attack against unarmed, nonviolent humanitarian activists,
trying to break Israel's illegal blockade to deliver essential aid. Cold-blooded
murder resulted. The entire world knows it except Israeli government and
military officials, as well as its self-appointed Turkel Commission, established
to whitewash, not reveal, facts.
- Two earlier articles discussed it, accessed through the
- Commission members included:
- -- two voting members: former Israeli Supreme Court Justice
Jacob Turkel (its head) and Amos Horev, a retired major general; and
- -- two non-voting observers: (1) close Israeli ally David
Trimble, a Northern Ireland unionist allied with death squads during "The
Troubles;" and (2) retired Canadian general Ken Warkin, involved in
the coverup of the Canadian Airborne Regiment Battle Group's early 1990s
- Like similar Israeli and Washington commissions, it was
established for coverup and denial. As a result, it unanimously endorsed
bald-faced lies, distortions, omissions, false conclusions, and exoneration
of cold-blooded murder, as ordered by top Israeli government and military
officials who'll get off as usual scot-free. The outcome was preordained
as was Israel's Cast Lead whitewash.
- On August 9, it began hearings. On January 23, Haaretz
writer Barak Ravid headlined, "Israel's Gaza flotilla probe: IDF soldiers
acted in self-defense," saying:
- In the first part of its report, the Turkel Commission
absolved Israeli commandos of criminality. It "also determined that
Israel's (illegal siege) does not break international law....(and) there
were clear indications that the flotilla intended to break the naval blockade....By
clearly resisting capture, the Mavi Marmara had become a military objective,"
despite on board activists offering no resistance. Saying so was a lie.
- Moreover, the Commission "determined that Israel
had been in compliance with (its unilaterally imposed) conditions for such
a blockade," a clear oxymoron. It also suggested Israel "examine
the medical needs of the people of Gaza in order to find ways to improve
the current situation....focus(ing) its sanctions on Hamas while avoiding
harm against the civilian population."
- Omitted was admitting the siege's illegality or that
Hamas is Palestine's legitimate government, obligated to serve, protect
and defend its people. Sanctioning it for doing its job is criminal and
- In several months, the report's part two will be out,
discussing Israel's procedures for investigating its international law
violations, as well as the government's decision-making process ordering
- Last September 22, the UN Human Rights Council's (HRC)
fact-finding mission held Israel entirely culpable, calling its assault
brutal and disproportionate. An earlier article discussed it, accessed
through the following link:
- Based on eye witness testimonies, forensic evidence,
video footage, and other photographic material, it:
- "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....The preponderance
of evidence from impeccable sources is far too overwhelming to come to
a contrary opinion."
- Israel's justification on "security grounds"
was called entirely baseless. Moreover, prosecuting Israeli criminals is
warranted and essential under Fourth Geneva's Article 147, covering:
- -- willful killing;
- -- torture or inhuman treatment; and
- -- willfully causing great suffering or serious injury
to body or health.
- HRC commission members included:
- -- Desmond de Silva, a UK lawyer and former chief prosecutor
for the Sierre Leone Special Court investigation into widespread killings
- -- Karl Hudson-Phillips, a former International Criminal
Court (ICC) judge and former Trinidad and Tobago attorney general and parliament
- -- Malaysia's Mary Shanthi Dairiam, active in gender
equality issues, including on the UN Development Program's gender equity
- In emergency session ahead of its investigation, the
HRC criticized Israel's "outrageous attack on aid ships attempting
to breach a blockade on the Gaza Strip," calling it "piracy,
(an) act of aggression, (a) brutal massacre, (an) act of terrorism, (a)
war crime, (a) crime against humanity - unprovoked, unwarranted, atrocious,
(and) brutal." It described activists onboard as "peaceful, innocent,
noble, unarmed, (and) defenseless, setting a hopeful tone for a Goldstone
Commission-like investigation and conclusions."
- Following its own investigation, Turkey's report (like
the HRC mission) held Israel entirely culpable, accurately concluding what
actually happened, not Israel's web of lies and coverup, its speciality.
- A Final Comment
- Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan rejected
Israel's findings, saying they have "no value or credibility."
Turkey's Foreign Ministry said it was "appalled and dismayed."
- As expected, New York Times writer Isabel Kershner's
article leaned heavily toward Israel, headlining, "Israeli Panel Rules
Flotilla Raid Legal," saying:
- "Israeli officials expressed hopes that the (panel's)
conclusions....would vindicate Israel and win it at least some foreign
support, quoting Netanyahu spokesman Mark Regev saying "the findings....are
clear: Israel acted in justifiable self defense. Our soldiers acted to
protect themselves and to protect their country."
- Video footage, said Kershner, "showed Israeli naval
commandoes being set upon as they rappelled from helicopters onto the ship's
deck. Some soldiers had their equipment seized, and the commission found
that two were shot during the melee, but it said it was unable to determine
whether (Turkish) activists brought their own firearms on board."
- False on all counts. What, in fact, happened was opposite
of what Kershner reported. No one on board had arms. Israeli commandos
killed activists before coming aboard, then with photos of ones targeted,
they shot them at point blank range.
- Viva Palestina's Kevin Ovenden, on board the Mavi Marmara,
- "The claim by Israel's Turkel Commission that Israeli
forces acted legally when they killed nine people (and) left another brain
dead, will be laughed out of court by all but the Israeli government and
its most fanatical supporters."
- "This whitewash commission was set up by the Netanyahu
government, the same people who commissioned the assault on the aid ship....Israel
has refused (to cooperate with an) independent international inquiry and
instead was brazen enough to establish this farce. No Turkish official,
lawyer or representative was allowed to take part," even though its
citizens were killed....However hard the Israeli Government attempts to
rewrite history, they can't rewrite the truth."
- Israel committed premeditated slaughter in international
waters, murdering unarmed activists in cold blood, trying to deliver humanitarian
- Dealing only with Israel's blockade, the Gisha Legal
Center for Freedom of Movement said "No Commission of inquiry can
authorize collective punishment of a civilian population by restricting
its movement and access, as did Israel."
- "We disagree with the Commission's conclusion that
the restrictions were justified for military or 'strategic' reasons."
It's unjustifiable to claim preventing "the transfer into Gaza of
industrial margarine, paper, and coriander (among other non-military staples)
contributed to a legitimate military goal."
- Gisha rightfully calls Israel's closure policy "illegal"
under international law. It was established illegitimately to weaken Hamas,
as well as punish and strangle Gaza's economy, not protect security as
claimed. Murdering unarmed, nonviolent humanitarian activists trying to
deliver essential aid compounds Israel's culpability. Ongoing without letup
or accountability, Turkel's whitewash commission absolved it.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
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