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Erdogan Slams Israeli Internal Inquiry, Turkel Report, as Biased and Meaningless


Erdogan slams Turkel report as biased and meaningless

[ 24/01/2011 - 10:46 AM ]


Turkish premier Recep Erdogan on Sunday criticized the Israeli Turkel Committee's findings defending the deadly attack on Freedom Flotilla aid convoy as having no value or credibility.

The Israeli inquiry concluded that the attack last May, in which nine Turkish activists were killed in cold blood by Israeli commandos, did not violate international law. Erdogan made it crystal clear that the report was a whitewash.

The report also claimed that Israel and its army acted in accordance with international law regarding the blockade on the Gaza Strip.

The Turkish ministry of foreign affairs also slammed the report and considered the attack on the convoy and Gaza siege violations against international law.

The ministry stated that Israel's blockade on Gaza exceeded its security needs and became a mass punishment against civilians because it blocks vital needs from them.   It added that the Israeli report was contrary to the findings reached by the international inquiry committee that said Israel violated international law when it attacked Freedom Flotilla.

For her part, Arab Knesset member Haneen Zoabi condemned the findings of Turkel committee as biased, affirming that the position of this committee was determined on the basis of listening to testimonies given by Israeli political circles that had approved the attack on the convoy.

Zoabi, who was aboard Mavi Marmara cruise ship and witnessed the massacre, added that the Israeli probe committee also listened to "eyewitnesses" who did not see what happened aboard the ship, and refused to summon her as the only witness to the incident for fear her testimony would negatively affect the results of the Israeli report. Another Knesset member Taleb Al-Sana said he was not surprised at the results of the Israeli inquiry committee, stressing that this committee was formed from the beginning to protect Israel's interests and acquit it of any guilt.

The Israeli report was also denounced by first deputy speaker of the Palestinian legislative council Dr. Ahmed Bahr who called on the international community to form a committee to probe the massacre during the attack on the Freedom Flotilla aid convoy.

Dr. Bahr in a press release on Sunday urged as well human rights orgnizations and parliaments all over the world to assume their responsibilities and confront Israel's blatant disrespect for the principles and provisions of international law.

Hamas condemns Turkel probe's exoneration of Israel

[ 23/01/2011 - 07:28 PM ]


The Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, strongly denounced the results of the Turkel probe into the lethal attack by Israeli troops on the Freedom Flotilla during an attempt to deliver humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.

The board released a report Sunday concluding that the attack did not contravene with international laws.

Hamas said the report reveals the panel's political role in legitimizing Israeli aggression and that facts were distorted.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum confirmed his party's rejection of the board, saying it is not plausible that the offender is the judge at the same time.

"It is an attempt to display [Israel's] image as civilized and democratic and save the occupation government from its predicament stemming from its involvement in terrorist acts," he said.

The investigation concluded Israel's siege on Gaza and attack on the Freedom Flotilla were done in accordance with and did not constitute any violation of international law

According to Yakoub Turkel, chairing the probe, Israel has fulfilled the obligation of supplying the strip's medical needs throughout the siege and did not deliberately starve the population there.

Turkel claimed clear evidence implies the naval convoy was trying to break the Gaza siege and extremist Islamic elements were among the Turkish activists on board and directly took part in "hostile acts".

Israeli media outlets earlier expressed belief that the internationally questionable probe would exonerate Israel of any suspicions around the attack against the fleet's Mavi Marmara that left nine dead.

Gaza flotilla survivors respond to Turkel Commission report

Monday January 24, 2011 08:08 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC News

After Israel released a report absolving its forces from wrongdoing in an attack on a humanitarian aid flotilla last year that left nine aid workers dead, survivors of the attack roundly criticized the report Sunday, calling it a “whitewash” and a “farce”.

Viva Palestina's Kevin Ovenden, who was on board the Mavi Marmara when it was attacked by Israeli forces in May last year, said, "The claim by Israel's Turkel Commission that Israeli forces acted legally when they killed nine people aboard the Mavi Marmara, and left another brain dead, will be laughed out of court by all but the Israeli government and its most fanatical supporters.

Ovenden continued, "This whitewash commission was set up by the Netanyahu government, the same people who commissioned the assault on the aid ship. It is simply unfeasible to claim that, for example, the two men shot immediately to the left and right of me, were gunned down in some act of self-defence. They were shot from above. No Israeli commando was in sight of us when the bullets rang out.”

He added, "Israel has refused an independent international inquiry and instead was brazen enough to establish this farce. No Turkish official, lawyer or representative was allowed to take part...Rather than entertaining this charade from Tel Aviv, the British government should demand that Israel and those responsible for the atrocity of Bloody Monday on the Mediterranean on 31 May last year are held to account and to the same universal standards of justice that are required of other states.”

Other members of the aid flotilla who survived the May 2010 attack were equally harsh in their criticism of the Israeli report. Sarah Colbourne, Director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and who was also onboard the Marvi Marmara when the Israeli Defence Force attacked the boat said:

“However hard the Israeli Government attempts to rewrite history, they can’t rewrite the truth. The facts are simple, the Marvi Marmara was carrying essential humanitarian aid like baby milk to the besieged people of Gaza. There were no guns or weapons on board the boat, we were in international waters, when over 300 bullets – or one for every two people on board - rained down on us, killing 9 people and injuring over 50.

She added, “The actions of the Israeli Defence Force and the Israeli Government where by all international standards of law illegal as is their continued occupation of Gaza and the oppression of the Palestinian people.”

The Turkel Commission was created by Israel to conduct an investigation of the attack by Israeli commandoes on the Gaza aid flotilla last year that left nine people dead. The report it released on Saturday found no wrongdoing by Israeli forces during the attack. None of the Gaza flotilla aid workers who survived the attack were interviewed by the commission, which based its findings solely on the testimonies of Israeli officials and soldiers.

Israel’s internal inquiry into killing of humanitarian aid workers finds no wrongdoing

Sunday January 23, 2011 19:21 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC News

The commission created by the Israeli government to ‘investigate’ the Israeli attack on a humanitarian aid flotilla in international waters in May 2010 has issued its first report, claiming that Israeli soldiers “acted in self defense”. The “internal investigation” has been called into question by international bodies for its failure to interview any of the hundreds of witnesses on the ships, relying only on the testimonies of the soldiers themselves.

The ‘Turkel Commission’ (named after the retired Supreme Court Judge which heads it) also claimed that Israel’s 3.5 year-long siege on the Gaza Strip, which some Israeli officials have described as “putting the population of Gaza on a diet” – and which has resulted in malnutrition rates of up to 45% among children, is not a violation of international law.

This is the first of two reports which will be released by the Turkel Commission – the second will describe the Israeli government’s internal process which led to the raid on the aid flotilla.

The Turkish government has been quick to criticize the report, calling it one-sided and biased. Eight of the nine passengers who were killed on the ‘Mavi Marmara’ ship by Israeli commandoes as they boarded aid ships in international waters were Turkish, and one was Turkish-American.

The Commission decided that even though the ships were in international waters, the Israeli naval assault was justified because the flotilla was on its way to the Gaza Strip to deliver humanitarian aid. This, despite the fact that there is no provision in international maritime law that allows attacks in international waters based the destination of the cargo.

During the attack on the flotilla, hundreds of Israeli commandoes and soldiers dropped onto the aid ships from helicopters and dozens of Israelis naval vessels which surrounded the cargo ships. Israel claims that the commandoes were attacked by passengers who tried to steal their guns (the passengers were unarmed, and were inspected for weapons before leaving port).

Although the Turkel Commission claims that they called for witnesses from among the aid workers and none came forward, the aid workers had all been threatened with arrest by the Israeli government if they came to Israel to testify.

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