Friday, September 02, 2011

Turkey Expels Israeli Ambassador After UN Report Finds Flotilla Raid Legal

The United Nations somehow managed to conclude that Israel's actions as a sovereign nation to defend itself was legal (which isn't a given when it comes to the United Nations) but still somehow managed to fault Israel for its use of force when its boarding party used force to defend itself from terrorists on board one of the boats in the flotilla seeking to break the blockade around Gaza.
The report, expected to be released Friday, also found that when Israeli commandos boarded the main ship, they faced “organized and violent resistance from a group of passengers” and were therefore required to use force for their own protection. But the report called the force “excessive and unreasonable,” saying that the loss of life was unacceptable and that the Israeli military’s later treatment of passengers was abusive.

The 105-page report, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times, was completed months ago. But its publication was delayed several times as Turkey and Israel sought to reconcile their deteriorating relationship and perhaps avoid making the report public. In reactions from both governments included in the report, as well as in interviews, each objected to its conclusions. Both said they believed that the report, which was intended to help mend relations, would instead make reconciliation harder.

Turkey is particularly upset by the conclusion that Israel’s naval blockade is in keeping with international law and that its forces have the right to stop Gaza-bound ships in international waters, which is what happened in the 2010 episode. That conclusion oversteps the mandate of the four-member panel appointed by the United Nations secretary general and is at odds with other United Nations decisions, Turkey argued.

The report noted that the panel did not have the power to compel testimony or demand documents, but instead had to rely on information provided by Israel and Turkey. Therefore, its conclusions cannot be considered definitive in either fact or law.

The Foreign Ministries in Turkey and Israel declined to comment publicly on the report, saying they preferred to wait for its official release. No one was available to comment in the office of the United Nations spokesman.

Israel considers the report to be a rare vindication for it in the United Nations. A United Nations Security Council statement at the time assailed the loss of life, and Israel faced widespread international condemnation. It thought that by offering to negotiate an agreement with Turkey that would stop the report’s publication, Turkish officials might soften their position.
The fact that the United Nations had to issue a report about a sovereign nation's inalienable right to defend itself shows the farcical nature of the Arab-Israeli conflict and how the United Nations has gotten wrapped up into knots over the ongoing conflict to the point that any action taken by Israel is instantly criticized and only later does a potential vindication come.

It should have been self-evident that Israel had the right to stop the blockade and to protect itself. Deaths resulting from the stop should be on the IHH, not Israel. But the report lays blame on Israel for not giving sufficient warnings and using too much force (as though the terrorists on board were not willing to use deadly force themselves - as viewed in the videos and photos taken before and during the raid).

For that, Turkey has decided to send Israel's ambassador packing.

Never mind that Turkey has no problem invading a sovereign nation - Iraq - in the ongoing hunt of Kurdish terrorists and has caused tens of thousands of casualties over the years and not once has the United Nations sought to issue a report or criticize the cross-border raids.

Israel was completely within its rights to board and search the Turkish flotilla that was organized by an extremist group, the IHH. It's another one of those but-for situations.

But for Palestinian terrorism, Israel would not have needed to impose a blockade, let alone carry out a raid to thwart pro-terrorist sympathizers from running the blockade to Israel's security detriment.

It was not unreasonable for the Israelis to carry out the raid, and members of the IHH aboard the Mavi Marmara were armed and were seeking to induce a conflict. They were more than willing to use deadly force against the Israeli commandos, and therefore Israel's actions were fully justified. Once the terrorists aboard the ship attacked the commandos, the Israeli commandos were justified in their use of force.

That is borne out in the harsh criticism of the IHH and its reckless disregard for safety. In other words, the UN considered the IHH flotilla a stunt and that Israel was justified to carry out the search.

Yet, Turkey's government is whipping up the Islamists and anti-Israel sentiment over the raid and would rather see its relations with Israel falter rather than admit that its own actions were in poor judgment. The diplomatic expulsion is meant for domestic consumption in Turkey, and it shows that the Islamists in Turkey are increasingly taking control over the political process there, which will be detrimental to Turkey's future economic and sociopolitical development.

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