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UN report finds Israel blockade legal, faults 'excessive' force

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Author Topic: UN report finds Israel blockade legal, faults 'excessive' force  (Read 1255 times)
« on: September 08, 2011, 12:09:14 pm »

UN report finds Israel blockade legal, faults 'excessive' force
8:04 PM EST September 1, 2011
A long-awaited U.N. report on an Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound ship that killed nine Turks declares that Israel's naval blockade of the Gaza Strip was legal, but that the Jewish state used unreasonable force.

The report, made public Thursday, said Israeli commandos faced "organized and violent resistance from a group of passengers" in the incident last year.

But in criticism of Israel, it said the amount of force used by the Israelis on board the Mavi Marmara, the largest in a flotilla of six ships that the crew said were delivering aid to Palestinians in Gaza, was "excessive and unreasonable."

In comments that considerably weakened the force of the report, the Israeli and Turkish members of the four-man panel that wrote it said they disagreed with key findings. The Turkish panelist dissociated himself from some conclusions.

Israel calls its Gaza blockade a precaution against arms reaching Hamas and other Palestinian guerrillas by sea. Palestinians and their supporters say the blockade is illegal collective punishment, a view some U.N. officials have echoed.

The report, prepared by a panel headed by former New Zealand Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer, is expected to be formally handed to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Friday and was due to be released then. But the New York Times posted on its website Thursday a copy it had obtained.

The report's release was delayed repeatedly to allow for ultimately fruitless rapprochement talks between Israel and Turkey, whose relations were badly affected by the incident on May 31 last year.

The United States has been concerned about the rift between two countries that had been strategic partners in an increasingly stormy Middle East.

The report was originally expected to be completed in February. But Turkey and Israel were never able to agree on what happened and what the conclusions of the report should be, diplomats and U.N. officials said. As a result, one U.N. official said, the report is not a "consensus document."


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« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2011, 07:30:06 am »

UN Report Finds that Israel's Gaza Blockade is Legal     Israel Today News  Sept 4th
    The United Nations on Friday officially approved Israel's maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip as a legal and legitimate measure. The result was the start of a Middle East "cold war" between Israel and former ally Turkey.  For more than a year Turkey has been demanding that Israel publicly apologize for intercepting a so-called "humanitarian aid" flotilla that tried to break the Gaza blockade in May 2010. That operation ended in the deaths of nine Turkish nationals who attacked the Israeli boarding party aboard the flotilla's largest ship, the Mavi Marmara. Turkey insisted that the entire affair had been an act of piracy by Israel, and openly sided with Gaza's Hamas rulers.  But the Palmer Commission report into the incident that was submitted to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon acknowledged that Israel is facing "a real threat to its security from militant groups in Gaza."
    Israel set up a limited blockade of Gaza, including a naval blockade, to ensure that local terrorists do not smuggle advanced weapons into the territory, which they have repeatedly tried to do.  The Palmer Report confirmed that Israel's naval blockade "was imposed as a legitimate security measure...and its implementation complied with the requirements of international law."   The report justified Israel's ongoing refusal to apologize to Turkey over the Mavi Marmara raid further enflaming the Turkish government, which responded by expelling the Israeli ambassador in Ankara.  Turkey also suspended all military agreements with Israel, and threatened to file charges against individual Israeli soldiers who took part in the raid at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
   Meanwhile, a vindicated Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement that Israel had adopted the Palmer Report and was pleased with its findings, even though it was also critical of Israel. The Palmer Report found fault with Israel for sending so many commandoes to board the Mavi Marmara, and for doing so at such a distance from Gazan waters.  But Israeli officials, who are disputing those particular findings, noted that there were five other ships in the flotilla, and none of them were subjected to violence. The fighting aboard the Mavi Marmara was instigated by terrorist-linked activists, and not the Israeli soldiers, who only resorted to deadly force when several of their number were taken hostage below deck.  "Israel believes that the committee did not sufficiently consider the operational limitations," said Joseph Ciechanover, the Israeli representative to the Palmer Commission.   Not a few people have also pointed out that while Turkey is busy demonizing Israel for defending itself, the Turkish air force has been killing hundreds in northern Iraq in raids on suspected Kurdish militants. Both Ankara and the mainstream media have been silent on that comparison.
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« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2011, 10:05:20 am »

Erdogan: Turkey warships will escort any future Gaza aid flotilla

Turkish PM also says that his country had taken steps to stop Israel from unilaterally exploiting natural resources from the eastern Mediterranean.


Turkish warships will escort any Turkish aid vessels to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said in remarks broadcast on Al Jazeera television on Thursday.

Erdogan also said that Turkey had taken steps to stop Israel from unilaterally exploiting natural resources from the eastern Mediterranean, according to Al Jazeera's Arabic translation of excerpts of the interview, which was conducted in Turkish.

Last Saturday, Turkish officials told Hurriyet Daily News that the Turkish navy will significantly strengthen its presence in the easter Mediterranean Sea, as one of the steps the Turkish government has decided to take following the release of the UN Palmer report on the 2010 Gaza flotilla.

"The eastern Mediterranean will no longer be a place where Israeli naval forces can freely exercise their bullying practices against civilian vessels," a Turkish official was quoted as saying.

As part of the plan, the Turkish navy will increase its patrols in the eastern Mediterranean and pursue "a more aggressive strategy".
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« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2015, 06:38:48 pm »

Spain issues arrest warrant for Benjamin Netanyahu

The Spanish national court has reopened a 2010 case against seven current and former top Israeli leaders for a naval incident that resulted in the death of 10 Turkish activists.

A Spanish judge has issued arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other former and current government officials for a deadly fight at sea in 2010. As long as the warrant is in effect, if Netanyahu and those officials set foot in the western European country, they could be detained and questioned.

The 2010 incident was a flotilla raid, in which a group of pro-Palestinian human rights activists attempted to disrupt an Israeli naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. Israeli naval forces were able to stop the flotilla, but when they boarded one of the activists’ ships, the Mavi Marmara, they were attacked by knives and clubs.

In an ensuing gun battle, nine activists died. Most of the deceased were part of a Turkish NGO, the IHH, that has alleged ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

In addition to Mr. Netanyahu, the implicated officials include former Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, former defense ministers Moshe Ya’alon and Ehud Barak, former Interior Minister Eli Yishai, former Intelligence Minister Dan Meridor, and Minister without Portfolio Bennie Begin.

The Israeli officials are largely dismissive of Spain’s warrants.

“It’s a provocation,” Foreign Ministry Emmanuel Nahshon told The Times of Israel on Tuesday. “The Israeli embassy in Madrid is in touch with Spanish General Prosecutor in order to close the file as promptly as possible.”

The Spanish case against Israel first emerged following the incident in 2010, when three Spaniards aboard the Mavi Marmara sued Netanyahu and his cohorts. Turkey and Britain also began prosecution against Israel, The Jerusalem Post reports, but both efforts have since been suspended.

In Spain, a judge in its National Court known as the Audiencia Nacional decided in 2010 the country no longer had the authority to file lawsuits regarding international incidents, despite its litigious track record in world affairs as a frontrunner in universal justice.

Referred to the International Criminal Court, an international tribunal established in The Hague in the Netherlands, the case was eventually dismissed.

That is, until Friday, when Spanish Judge Jose De La Mata found a legal loophole that gives Spanish authorities jurisdiction to reopen the case if any of the seven Israeli officials set foot in Spain.

Judge De La Mata has instructed Spanish police to keep tabs on the travel movements of “The Seven” incriminated Israeli officials. With the exception of Netanyahu, who has international immunity, the leaders could be placed under arrest and detained if they enter Spain.

“This is an issue that has been subject to legal proceedings for several years now,” Nahshon told Israeli newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth. “We hope that the case will be closed soon, as it should have been a long time ago.”

In 2002, following the Israel Defense Forces’ bombing of Hamas leader Salah Shehadeh, Spain brought forth a slew of war crime allegations against the Jewish state under the principle of universal jurisdiction. The judiciary investigation halted in 2009, however, when the Supreme Court of Spain upheld the decision of lower courts and Israel’s High Court in favor of the IDF. The bombing killed 15 civilians and injured 150 others.

In another instance of exceptional conviction under universal jurisdiction, Spain launched a 2006 investigation into whether seven former Chinese leaders, including former President Jiang Zemin, had committed genocide in Tibet in 1950. The probe was shelved in 2010 for the same reason as the flotilla raid initially. 

Spain had considerable success in extraditing former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in 1998. The Audiencia Nacional had accepted in 1996 a lawsuit against the despot under charges of terrorism, torture, and genocide. Pinochet was arrested in London – the first time a former head of state had been apprehended under universal jurisdiction – and British judges ruled in favor of his extradition to Spain.

But the extradition never happened, and Pinochet was released back to Chile in 2000. Still, human rights activists consider it a milestone in the pursuit of global justice.

Today, such efforts persist. The Spanish judge who went after Pinochet 20 years ago, Baltasar Garzón, is still fighting for the legitimacy of international justice. Except now, he’s targeting big corporations he says are guilty of labor abuse and excessive pollution.

“Humanitarian and economic crises cause more deaths around the world than all of the genocides we have documented,” Garzón told The Guardian in August.

In September, he was part of an international congregation of activists, judges, and academics who met in Argentina to expand the salience of universal jurisdiction.

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« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2016, 04:18:33 am »

Turkey Toning Down Hopes for Reconciliation With Israel

It appears that — like Israel — Turkey’s government is working to reduce expectations of a reconciliation between Ankara and Israel, just as Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has in Jerusalem.

The Ankara edition of ‘Today’s Zaman’ published an article Monday headlined: ‘Turkey FM says Israel wanted Erdogan ousted from power, put off deal.”

From the very first paragraph, the article laid the blame for any failure of reconciliation talks at Israel’s doorstep – as Turkey has consistently to this point. But near the very end of the article, carefully tucked away within the final

“Turkey’s top diplomat has claimed that Israel has been cold to rapprochement with Turkey because of raised expectations about Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan being ousted from power,” the paper reported.

“Briefing lawmakers in Parliament last Wednesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the framework agreement with Israel was already in place several years ago, saying his government has been in talks with the Israeli side on the same issues that were reported today. ‘In fact, there was a main agreement in place on all these issues, but why was Israel not approaching to [finalize the deal]?” he asked, adding that Israel has been waiting on the departure of Erdogan from power…’”

The foreign minister repeated Turkey’s conditions for the normalization of ties, which include the payment of compensation over the deaths of those who died in the 2010 Mavi Marmara debacle.

What is interesting – and new – is the position allegedly expressed by Cavusoglu that Turkey insists on ‘lifting the Israeli embargo on Gaza – the use of language here, as it is with all diplomatic issues, is very important — the embargo, and that “Turkey wants to help Gaza residents, including providing electricity to the strip.” According to Today’s Zaman “the Turkish government’s priority is on lifting the embargo rather than the blockade and hopes to channel development assistance to rebuild Gaza.” (ed.-italics added)

This is the first time Turkey has changed its demands for Israel to drop its blockade of Gaza and instead moved to a request to lift the ’embargo’ in order to be able to aid in supplying electricity to the enclave.

Despite Ankara’s leanings towards the Muslim Brotherhood, Turkey nevertheless might prove helpful in preventing Hamas from stealing the construction supplies that now go missing in order to rebuild military infrastructure rather than residential neighborhoods.

On the other hand, one must question whether Turkey hopes to play a role in Gaza in order to establish a presence in the face of another recently-demoted former ally, Egypt, with whom Israel has strengthened relations — and who has increasingly lost patience with Turkey’s foster son, Hamas.

Cavusoglu also revealed that Israeli officials have expressed concern Turkey would continue its public criticisms after a deal is finalized.

“If Israel continues to implement these policies, including illegal settlements and attacks on Palestine, then we’ll naturally criticize; we are very clear and open about this,” the Turkish foreign minister said.”

And herein lies one of the problems: Turkey seems to feel free to interfere in the internal domestic national security issues of other sovereign nations but takes great umbrage when others do the same.

For instance, Ankara has no problem taking the role of advocate on behalf of Hamas, the terrorist organization spawned by the Muslim Brotherhood that rules Gaz, and which has been responsible for countless mained, wounded and dead in Israel.

But were another sovereign nation to take the same stance on behalf of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) – the internationally-recognized terrorist group located in Turkey’s southeastern sector – one wonders how Ankara would respond.

rest: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/analysis-turkey-toning-down-hopes-for-reconciliation-with-israel/2016/02/16/
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