UN report: Israel's Gaza blockade legal

Turkey rebuffs Palmer findings while Israeli envoy adopts UN report on 2010 flotilla raid; Turkish representative in foul mood
UN's Palmer Report says Israel's Gaza blockade legal, slams 'reckless' violence of Turkish activists facing IDF soldiers; Israel's deadly raid on vessel characterized as 'excessive, unreasonable'

Ynet Latest Update: 09.01.11

While Israel's representative in the Palmer Committee adopted the www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4116884,00.html Turkey's envoy chose to reject many parts of the document that are not to Ankara's liking. In an appendix to the document, Turkey's Ozdem Sanberk rejected the Palmer Report's conclusions on the following issues: The question of the legality of the blockade imposed on Gaza by Israel; the actions of the flotilla; and naval blockades in general.

"The wording in the report is not satisfactory in describing the actual extent of the atrocities that the victims have been subjected to," the Turkish representative wrote in an appendix. "This includes the scope of the maltreatment suffered by the passengers in the hands of Israeli soldiers and officials." After expanding on Ankara's various objections, Sanberk wrote: "I reject and dissociate myself from the relevant parts and paragraphs of the report," proceeding to cite a long list of the document's clauses and findings. As opposed to Turkey, Israel's representative to the committee, Joseph Ciechanover, adopted the UN probe.

"Israel appreciates the important work of the Panel," the Israeli envoy wrote, adding that while Jerusalem has some reservations, it nonetheless appreciates "that the report concurs with Israel’s view" on a long lists of issues.

However, he noted that "Israel does not concur with the Panel’s characterization of Israel’s decision to board the vessels in the manner it did as 'excessive and unreasonable.' Ciechanover chose to end his response to the report's findings by lauding the shared history of Jews and Turks. "Israel cherishes the shared history and centuries old ties of strong friendship and cooperation between the Jewish and Turkish peoples and hopes that the Panel's work over the past few months will assist Israel and Turkey in finding a path back to cooperation," he wrote.

A long-anticipated United Nations report on www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3284752,00.html's deadly raid on a Gaza-bound ship in 2010 justifies Israel's blockade of the Strip, but accuses the IDF of using "excessive and unreasonable" force to stop the vessel. The UN's Palmer Report was first published by the New York Times Thursday evening. The full report is available go.ynet.co.il/pic/news/Palmer-Committee-Final-report.pdf.

Addressing Israel's Gaza blockade, the UN's Palmer Report notes that the Jewish state "faces a real threat to its security from militant groups in Gaza." "The naval blockade was imposed as a legitimate security measure in order to prevent weapons from entering Gaza by sea and its implementation complied with the requirements of international law," the report says. The UN panel noted that Israeli forces who boarded the Mavi Marmara in order to prevent it from breaching the blockade faced “organized and violent resistance from a group of passengers,” adding that the violence required the IDF to use force.

However, the force used by Navy commandoes was "excessive and unreasonable," the report charges, adding that Israel's treatment of passengers following the raid was flawed. Given the above conclusion, the report recommends that Israel proceed to make “an appropriate statement of regret" and pay compensation to the families of the nine people killed by troops aboard the ship. However, Turkey rejected the proposed formula and is now demanding a full-fledged apology. The Palmer report also slams flotilla passengers, accusing them of acting "recklessly in attempting to breach the naval blockade.”

“There exist serious questions about the conduct, true nature and objectives of the flotilla organizers, particularly IHH," the report says. It added that while Turkey attempted to convince organizers to avoid a clash at sea, "more could have been done." While acknowledging that Israeli forces faced violence resistance on board the ship, the report slams the killing of nine Turkish activists. "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,” it says. The report added that Israel's treatment of passengers following the raid "included physical mistreatment, harassment and intimidation, unjustified confiscation of belongings and the denial of timely consular assistance.”