Archive for the ‘Flotillas’ Category

Israel’s Attorney General Not To Press Charges Against Israelis Taking Part in Marmara Flotilla

December 26, 2011

Here’s another fine example as to why Israel is a democracy (Being under constant attack, this for some reason is a point that needs constant proof and validation, while other democracies around the world, whose actions can certainly be more than just questioned, do not face this kind of de-legitimacy to their democracy) –

Israel’s Attorney General, Yehuda Weinstein, decieded after about 18 months of deliberations and contemplations, to close the cases and not press charges against all Israeli citizens that took part in the infamous May 2009 Mavi Marmara flotilla, including one Israeli-Arab Knesset Member, Hanin Zoabi.

In May of 2009, a flotilla of six ships and boats made it’s way from several ports in Europe towards Gaza, in an open declared attempt to breach Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip (imposed on January 3rd 2009 in order to intercept all ships trying to reach Gaza, after Hamas’ rockets arsenal [that he continued to fire towards Israel] grew, and several Iranian ships were intercepted with weapons on them hiding behind a slim amount of pseudo-humanatarian aid). When the flotilla ships were unwilling to have their ships checked in either an Israeli or an Egyptain port and have the humanatarian supplies aboard sent through the land-crossings, Israeli commandos were sent to impose the blockade as the ships were nearing Gaza’s territorial water, and found a violent resistance by a relatively small (but dangerous) group of passengers. In an armed battle that ensues, nine of these violent passangers were killed and about 10 Israeli soldiers were severely wounded. The ships and the passengers were directed to an Israeli port where they were arrested, but 24 hours later the Attorney General decieded to deport foreign passengers rather than keep them locked in Israeli prisoners for the duration of such investigation. As a result, all charges were dropped against all foreign passengers.

The Israeli passengers however were still in question. It should be noted that they were never suspected of attacking the soldiers, but their involvement in an attempt to breach the blockade imposed by Israel, as well as take part in this kind of activity organized by the IHH, at the time already outlawed and declared a terror-associated organization for over a year, was under investigation.

Where some countries in our world (and let’s be honest – some of the more powerful countries) might simply arrest, shoot or who-knows-what-else, it took Israel’s Attorney General and Justice Ministery 18 months to decide if there are real merits and basis to press charges. Last Thursday, the Justice Ministery released a statement saying that “After examining the overall evidence in the case and the legal issues pertaining to the matter, the attorney general has decided to close the case as result of significant evidentiary and legal difficulties.”

None of this, of course, comes to serve as any excuse or justification for this provacative political (none-humanitarian) flotilla, that like all others should have ended peacefully. The charges un-pressed have nothing to do with that, but with other matters as stated above, including the difficulty today to prove there was criminal intent when so many other activists were released (for completely other reasons, but the courts tie one with the other), and due to fact that the supposed illegal association was done soley abroad and proves a difficulty to impose Israeli’s law system on such actions.

To be honest, I think most of the public in Israel has forgetting that is even a question – 18 months is a long time.

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Turkey expels Israeli Ambassador, worsens ties

September 2, 2011

Today at noon, in response to the publication of the Palmer Report (UN inquiry on the 31 May 2010 Flotilla Incident),  Turkey has announced it is worsening its’ diplomatic relations with Israel and a series of steps regarding that worsening. Turkey has completely disregarded the findings of the report, a report which completely contradicts all of their claims towards Israel, the blockade on Gaza and its’ operation to intercept the flotilla.

Before I elaborate on the Turkish response, here are the reports’ main findings (who favor Israel’s narrative):

  • “Israel faces a real threat to its security from militant groups in Gaza. 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.” (Summary, Facts, Circumstances and Context of the Incident, ii)
  • “Although people are entitled to express their political views, the flotilla acted recklessly in attempting to breach the naval blockade [..] there exist serious questions about the conduct, true nature and objectives of the flotilla organizers, particularly IHH. The actions of the flotilla needlessly carried the potential for escalation.” (Summary, Facts, Circumstances and Context of the Incident, iv)
  • “The incident and its outcomes were not intended by either Turkey or Israel.” (Summary, Facts, Circumstances and Context of the Incident, v)
  • “Israeli Defense Forces personnel faced significant, organized and violent resistance from a group of passengers when they boarded the Mavi Marmara requiring them to use force for their own protection.” (Summary, Facts, Circumstances and Context of the Incident, vii)
  • “Three soldiers were captured, mistreated, and placed at risk by those passengers.” (Summary, Facts, Circumstances and Context of the Incident, vii)
  • “Attempts to breach a lawfully imposed naval blockade place the vessel and those on board at risk.” (Summary, How to Avoid Similar Incidents in the Future, General, viii)

Many claims of Turkey are refuted as well throughout the report, such as the claim that Israeli soldiers fired from a helicopter towards the activists. The report finds that Israeli soldiers only opened fire once they were attacked and did so to protect their lives. Also, the report finds that three soldiers were in fact kidnapped by activists, and NOT as Turkey tried to portray it “for medical care”.

(more…)

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