Israel/Palestine,  Turkey

UN issues balanced report on Gaza flotilla raid

Based on information leaked to The New York Times, the United Nations’ review of Israel’s 2010 raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla in which nine passengers were killed is (by the standards of UN reports on Israel) remarkably balanced.

The UN investigation, led by former New Zealand prime minister Geoffrey Palmer, found that Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza is legal and appropriate, and 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.”

Clearly this is not what Israel’s enemies were hoping for.

However the report also found the Israeli use of force “excessive and unreasonable” and that “the Israeli military’s later treatment of passengers was abusive.”

Because the report appears to be far from a whitewash of either side, I think the Israeli government has a responsibility to take its findings seriously– including punishing any soldiers who behaved inappropriately.

Meanwhile the government of Turkey, from where the flotilla originated, has expelled the Israeli ambassador and downgraded diplomatic relations after Israel failed to apologize for the raid.

Perhaps it’s unavoidable, but Israel seems to be doing almost everything it can to antagonize Turkey– the one country in the region with which it had a decent relationship.