Jewish Right To Israel

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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Turkel Commision: Israel's #Flotilla Raid Was In Accordance With International Law

The Turkel Commission has concluded that Israel's boarding of the Gaza Flotilla's Mavi Marmara was done in accordance with International Law.

Of course, this will upset self-proclaimed humanitarian activists around the world who have hijacked the term "international law" to attack anything that does not fit the way they think the world should be run.

The verdict of the commission follows the opinion of actual legal opinions that have come out since the incident of the Mavi Marmara itself.

For example, you can listen to Dave Bender's exclusive interview and report back in June 2010 with an American-Israeli maritime security explaining why the naval commandos in fact acted correctly and in self-defense aboard the Mavi Marmara.

You can also listen to Dave Bender's other radio/podcasts

Jonathan Hoffman has a summary of the conclusions of the Turkel Commision:

Conclusions
• The conflict between Israel and the Gaza Strip is an international armed conflict.

• Israel’s ‘effective control’ of the Gaza Strip ended when the disengagement was completed.

• The purpose of the naval blockade imposed by Israel on the Gaza Strip was primarily a military-security one.

• The naval blockade was imposed on the Gaza Strip lawfully, with Israel complying with the conditions for imposing it.

• Israel is complying with the humanitarian obligations imposed on the blockading party, including the prohibition of starving the civilian population or preventing the supply of objects essential for the survival of the civilian population and medical supplies, and the requirement that the damage to the civilian population is not excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated from the blockade.

• The imposition and enforcement of the naval blockade on the Gaza Strip does not constitute ‘collective punishment’ of the population of the Gaza Strip.

• International law does not give individuals or groups the freedom to ignore the imposition of a naval blockade that satisfies the conditions for imposing it and that is enforced accordingly, especially where a blockade satisfies obligations to neutral parties, merely because in the
opinion of those individuals or groups it violates the duties of the party imposing the blockade vis-à-vis the entity subject to the blockade.

• A vessel that attempts to breach a blockade is subject to international law governing the conduct of hostilities: international humanitarian law, including the rules governing use of force.

• The Israeli armed forces' interception and capture of the Gaza Flotilla vessels in international waters - seaward of the blockaded area - was in conformity with customary international humanitarian law.

• The tactics chosen to intercept and capture the Flotilla vessels -including having Shayetet 13 naval commandoes board from Morena speedboats and fast-rope from helicopter onto the roof of the vessels - was consistent with established international naval practice.

• The participants in the Flotilla were predominantly an international group of civilians whose main goal was to bring publicity to the humanitarian situation in Gaza by attempting to breach the blockade imposed by Israel.

• On board the Mavi Marmara and the other flotilla vessels was a group of IHH and affiliated activists (the “IHH activists”) that violently opposed the Israeli boarding. The IHH activists who participated in that violence were civilians taking a direct part in hostilities.

• The force used against civilians on board the flotilla was governed by the principles of "necessity" and use of "proportionate force" associated with human rights based law enforcement norms. However, the IHH activists lost the protection of their civilian status for such time as they directly participated in the hostilities. The use of force against these
direct participants in hostilities is governed by the applicable rules of international humanitarian law.

• The Rules of Engagement for the operation provided an authority to use force that reflected the nature of a law enforcement operation.

• The IHH activists carried out the violence on board the Mavi Marmara by arming themselves with a wide array of weapons, including iron bars, axes, clubs, slingshots, knives, and metal objects. These were weapons capable of causing death or serious injury. Further, the hostilities
were conducted in an organized manner with IHH activists, inter alia, operating in groups when violently assaulting the IDF soldiers.

• The IHH activists used firearms against the IDF soldiers during the hostilities.

• The Commission has examined 133 incidents in which force was used.
The majority of the uses of force involved warning or deterring fire and less-lethal weapons.

• Overall, the IDF personnel acted professionally in the face of extensive and unanticipated violence. This included continuing to switch back and forth between less-lethal and lethal weapons in order to address the nature of the violence directed at them.

• The Commission has concluded that in 127 cases, the use of force appeared to be in conformity with international law.

• In six cases, the Commission has concluded that it has insufficient information to be able to make a determination.

• Three out of those six cases involved the use of live fire and three cases involved physical force; two incidents of kicking and one strike with the butt of a gun.

• In five out of the 127 incidents that appeared to be in conformity with international law, there was insufficient evidence to conclude that the use of force was also in accordance with law enforcement norms. However, in these cases, force appeared to be used against
persons taking a direct part in hostilities and, as a consequence, was in conformity with international law.

• The planning and organization of the IDF mission to enforce the blockade did not include anticipation that there would be a violent opposition to the boarding, which had a direct impact on the operational tactics, Rules of Engagement, and training before the operation. However,
the focus of the planning and organization of the operation on a lower level of resistance did not lead to a breach of international law.
And that is why Israel is known as the only democracy in the Middle East.

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