[News] UN Gaza aid probe - Israeli flotilla attack violated international law

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Sep 23 11:36:50 EDT 2010

'Israel flotilla raid was unlawful'

UN Gaza aid probe says the raid of Israeli forces on flotilla was in 
violation of international law.

Last Modified: 23 Sep 2010 09:44 GMT

The UN Human Rights Council's fact-finding mission has accused 
Israeli forces of violating international law when they raided a 
Gaza-bound aid flotilla.

The three UN-appointed human rights experts said in a report released 
on Wednesday that Israeli forces showed "incredible violence" during 
and after their raid on the aid flotilla that left eight Turkish 
activists and one Turkish-American killed.

The UN probe said  there was "clear evidence to support prosecutions" 
against Israel for "wilful killing" and torture committed when its 
troops stormed the aid flotilla last May.

Israel's military response to the flotilla "betrayed an unacceptable 
level of brutality" and violated international law "including 
international humanitarian and human rights law." The three-member panel said.

"The conduct of the Israeli military and other personnel towards the 
flotilla passengers was not only disproportionate to the occasion but 
demonstrated levels of totally unnecessary and incredible violence."

The report is scheduled to be debated by the Human Rights Council on Monday.

The report also rejected Israel's stance that its forces acted in 
self-defence when they raided the flotilla, arguing that even those 
who did not attempt to stop Israeli soldiers from boarding the aid 
ships "received injuries, including fatal injuries."

"It is apparent that no effort was made to minimise injuries at 
certain states of the operation and that the use of live fire was 
done in an extensive and arbitrary manner. The circumstances of the 
killing of at least six of the passengers were in a manner consistent 
with an extra-legal, arbitrary and summary execution."

Israel's reaction

Israel rejected the report as "biased" and "one-sided."

"The report... is as biased and as one sided as the body that  has 
produced it," the statement said.

"Israel... is of the opinion that the flotilla incident is amply and 
sufficiently investigated as it is. All additional dealing with this 
issue is superfluous and unproductive."

Israel insisted that it acted in line with international law, arguing 
that it had the right to retaliate against ships attempting to breach 
its blockade of the impoverished Gaza Strip.

However, the panel said that since Gaza was suffering from a 
humanitarian crisis on the day of the deadly raid, for this reason 
alone, Israel's blockade is unlawful and cannot be sustained in law.

Hamas welcomed the report and told Al Jazeera that the findings show 
that Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories violates human rights.

"More should now be done, the commander who led the raid should be 
taken to International Criminal Court." Hamas said.

The fact-finding mission, chaired by Karl Hudson-Phillips,  former 
judge of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, 
had  travelled to Turkey, Jordan and Britain to interview witnesses 
and officials for the probe.

Desmond de Silva, former chief prosecutor of the Sierra Leone  War 
Crimes Tribunal, and Shanthi Dairiam, as Malaysian human 
rights  expert, are the other members of the panel.

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