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Gaza flotilla raid legal, says Israeli inquiry

The Israeli raid on a Turkish ship bound for Gaza was legal, a commission finds, because Israel is in a state of war.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has welcomed the findings of his country's inquiry into the Gaza raid.
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has welcomed the findings of his country's inquiry into the Gaza raid.
Image: Debbie Hill/AP

AN ISRAELI COMMISSION of inquiry into the raid on an aid flotilla bound for Gaza last May, in which nine passengers on a Turkish boat were killed, has  found that the raid was not in breach of any international law.

The commission found that the raid was justified to protect the blockade of the Palestinian-controlled Gaza territory, which itself is justified because Israel is essentially “in a state of war” with the Hamas movement, which controls Gaza.

The Wall Street Journal said that the actions by Israeli soldiers were “lawful and in conformity with international law”, and that “when examining the operation as a whole, it seems that the soldiers did not overreact.”

The findings are in direct conflict with the findings of a Turkish inquiry into the raid, which had itself found that both the blockade, and the raid on the MV Mavi Marmara – which took place in the no-man’s-land of international waters – were illegal.

“The actions carried out by Israel on May 31, 2010, to enforce the naval blockade had the regrettable consequences of the loss of human life and physical injuries,” the report concludes, said CNN.

“Nonetheless, and despite the limited number of uses of force for which we could not reach a conclusion, the actions taken were found to be legal pursuant to the rules of international law.”

A survivor of the raid, Kevin Ovenden, told CNN the report’s findings were a “sick joke”.

The report, nonetheless, has been welcomed by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who spoke to media as he selected posters for use in the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which falls this Thursday, January 27.

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“This is what happened last May,” the Jerusalem Post quotes him as saying, pointing to the Holocaust posters, “when Israel enforced a naval blockade to prevent weapons and war material from infiltrating the terror organizations in Gaza.”

The results of the findings are likely to undo steps in recent months to ease relations between Turkey and Israel; the former had cut all diplomatic ties in the aftermath of the raid.

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Gavan Reilly

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