The long awaited Palmer Report (to be officially published tomorrow) is out and it has a number of anticipated findings.
Reactions from both Israel and Turkey vary and reactions from within Israel and Turkey reflect anger that still lingers over the Mavi Marmara incident of 2010. Please follow below for a discussion of the Palmer Commission findings and the attending stories to this.
The first is that the blockade of Gaza is found to be legal under international law. From the report:
Israel 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 also finds that Israel acted in Self Defense:
Israeli Defense Forces personnel faced significant, organized and violent resistance from a group of passengers when they boarded the Mavi Marmara requiring them to use force for their own protection. Three soldiers were captured, mistreated, and placed at risk by those passengers. Several others were wounded.
But the report was not a "whitewash" it harshly criticizes all sides (Israel and Turkey, as well as the flotilla organizers. As Haaretz Reports:
Nevertheless, the report – obtained and published Thursday evening by New York Times - found that the Israeli forces used "excessive and unreasonable force," and emphasized that the loss of life on board the ship is "unacceptable." Moreover, it found that the treatment of the passengers by the IDF soldiers after the interception was "abusive."
The report harshly criticizes the flotilla organizers, stating "they acted recklessly in attempting to breach the naval blockade". It added that ” there exist serious questions about the conduct, true nature and objectives of the flotilla organizers, particularly IHH.”
The report claimed that the Turkish government tried to persuade the organizers not to sail toward Gaza, "but could have done more."
The interception method employed by Israel also comes under attack in the report, which claims that Israel could have acted non-violently at first and should have warned the passengers of an imminent military operation.
While Israel's representative in the Palmer Committee adopted the UN report on the 2010 flotilla raid, 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.
Turkey, has also demanded Israel "apologize" for its actions in regard to this incident is telling Israel that it has 24 hours to make this apology or that it will go to "plan B" and impose sanctions on Israel.
"The release date of the UN report is the last date for us. We will put Plan B into play if no [Israeli] apology,” Davutoğlu told the Today's Zaman, without elaborating on what that "Plan B" may be.
In another reference to the possible consequences that would occur in the eventuality that Israel continued to avoid a public apology for the raid, the Turkish FM said that Turkey intended to " impose sanctions which both Israel and other international parties are aware of."
Of course, anyone who knows Israel (or at least PM Netanyahu) knows that this kind of rhetoric will merely push them to further obstinence. Ynet is reporting:
Israel has no intention of apologizing to Turkey over the 2010 flotilla raid despite Ankara's latest ultimatum, a senior official told Ynet Thursday.
While Israel is aware of the implications of its decision to refrain from issuing an apology, "we cannot conduct ourselves based on ultimatums," the official said....
.....Israel's forum of top eight government ministers discussed the Turkish affair in a recent meeting; four of the ministers – Ehud Barak, Dan Meridor, Benny Begin and Yuval Steinitz – were in favor of apologizing to Ankara. However, as noted, PM Netanyahu decided to object to an apology.
Arab Knesset Member Hanin Zoabi, who participated in the 2010 Gaza-bound flotilla, rejected Thursday the findings of the Palmer Report - which ruled that Israel's Gaza blockade is legal and legitimate.
"Those who sent the army to stop the flotilla should be persecuted and brought before international tribunals," Zoabi said. "Breaching the blockade is the moral, political and humane obligation of anyone who believes people must not remain silent over the occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people."
"The blockade is illegal and will continue to be illegal," the Balad MK said, adding that if she could travel back in time, she would participate in the flotilla again.
There is a lot of info. here including a link to the Palmer Commission report. Please read through all of the sources and discuss.