UN rules Gaza blockade is legal....
And, they found the Israeli inquiry was pretty good!
More bad news for the dwindling number of flotilla activists hanging around the ports of Greece. The now completed UN Inquiry on last year’s Gaza flotilla incident aboard the Mavi Marmara found that Israel’s blockade of Hamas-ruled Gaza is legal and the Israeli government owes no apology or reparation to Turkey.
The UN investigative committee, headed by former Prime Minister of New Zealand and internationally renowned jurist, Geoffrey Palmer, actually criticizes Turkey for not doing enough to prevent the flotilla from setting sail and for also providing a somewhat anaemic and lacking investigation into the events of May 2010.
Now the part that is going to really take the starch out of the flotilla activist’s kafiyehs is that in its examination of the Turkel Committee’s report – the committee conducting Israel’s official investigation – aided by Nobel Peace Prize winner David Trimble and former Canadian Forces former Judge Advocate General, Ken Watkin QC, is its conclusion that the Israeli investigation (in stark contrast to
Turkey’s) was conducted in a professional and independent manner.
For a UN report, the summary is astoundingly tepid in its criticism of Israel’s actions and constitutes a very mild slap on the wrist. The report mentions that while international law allows Israel to intercept ships far from its territorial waters, the navy would have been better off waiting until the flotilla was closer to the blockade line some 20 miles off shore. There is also the bromide of Israel using excessive force, but nobody disputes that when faced with attackers wielding iron bars, knives or axes, there is every justification for ditching the paintball gun for a real weapon in self-defence.
What will have them out in the streets in Ankara and Istanbul however, is that Palmer does not demand that Israel apologize to Turkey or pay any kind of reparation. In short, the UN report vindicates Israel and authoritatively rebuts the many false and contradictory versions of events spread by last year’s flotilla activists. Only last year, Victoria resident and dissembler-in-chief of the Mavi Marmara crew, Kevin Neish (currently cooling his heels with the rest of the Grecian formula flotilla activists) was questioned on the many inconsistencies he presented in his version of events to the CBC’s Carole MacNeil, who he huffily accused of, “Taking the Israeli position.” I have no doubt that this will be their same bafflegab in response to the UN’s report.