A surprise 290

The Palmer report on the flotilla which sailed from Turkey to break the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza and was intercepted on May 31 2010 by Israeli forces, is here in full. It is to be published tomorrow, Friday September 2, 2011.

Proceeding as it does from the nefarious UN, it is something of a surprise.

Here’s a summary of its findings from the New York Times. Since the NYT is an organ of the Left and and ideologically anti-Israel, the information it provides is unlikely to be deliberately spun in favor of Israel’s account of the events. In fact it does its best to stress every fault found with the Israelis, but conveys the report’s conclusion that Israel did not act illegally. 

[The report] 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 the loss of life was unacceptable and the Israeli military’s later treatment of passengers was abusive. …

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 here.

Israel considers the report to be a rare vindication for it in the United Nations. A Security Council statement at the time assailed the loss of life and Israel suffered widespread international condemnation. …

The United Nations investigation into the events …  was headed by Sir Geoffrey Palmer, former prime minister of New Zealand, aided by Álvaro Uribe, former president of Colombia, along with a representative each from Israel and Turkey.

It takes a broadly sympathetic view of Israel’s sea blockade of Gaza.

“Israel faces a real threat to its security from militant groups in Gaza,” the report says in its opening paragraphs. “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 is hard on the flotilla, asserting that it “acted recklessly in attempting to breach the naval blockade.” It said that while the majority of the hundreds of people aboard the six vessels had no violent intention, that could not be said of IHH, the Turkish aid group that primarily organized the flotilla. It said, “There exist serious questions about the conduct, true nature and objectives of the flotilla organizers, particularly IHH.”

It also said that the Turkish government tried to persuade the organizers to avoid an encounter with Israeli forces but that “more could have been done.”

Regarding the boarding of the [Mavi Marmara] ship, the Palmer committee said Israel should have issued warnings closer to the moment of action and should have first turned to nonviolent options. …

Some earlier reports say they did just that, firing nothing more lethal than paint balls in self-defense.

The [Palmer] report does, however, acknowledge that once on board the commandos had to defend themselves against violent attack.

The report also criticizes Israel’s subsequent treatment of passengers saying it “included physical mistreatment, harassment and intimidation, unjustified confiscation of belongings and the denial of timely consular assistance.”

But they were armed passengers according to this source:

The passengers … pulled out bats, clubs, and slingshots with glass marbles, assaulting each soldier as he disembarked. The fighters were nabbed one by one and were beaten up badly …

And as for “the majority of the hundreds of people aboard the six vessels” having “no violent intention”, a video clip casts doubt on that claim. It shows –

the hysteria against Israel being whipped up on board before the ships set sail, with the chanting of intifada songs about ‘Khaybar’ – the iconic slaughter of Jews by Muslims in the 7th century which is used as a rallying cry to kill the Jews today — and threats of ‘martyrdom’. This was not merely a propaganda stunt, but a terrorist attack.