Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Report on the Flotilla Fiasco

The Turkel Commission published the first part of its findings today. In summary: Israel did everything by the book, and its actions in stopping the IHH-led "Free Gaza" flotilla in May 2010 were justified. There were problems in the intelligence-gathering and planning stages, but those will be the focus of the second part of the report, due to be published in about a month.

Although I completely agree with the findings, I'm still uncomfortable. The absolute affirmation of Israel's right to enforce a blockade on Gaza and of its claim of self-defense seems rooted in the facts at hand, but I doubt it will be accepted by the world. Perhaps, if the commission had not been a government commission, but rather the highest form - a national commission (or, if the term "ve'ada mamlachtit" is translated directly - a royal commission) whose members are appointed by the chief justice of the Supreme Court, it would be taken more seriously internationally.

Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey has already said he doesn't believe the report, because an internal inquiry isn't worth anything. Funny, since Turkey had its own internal inquiry into the Mavi Marmara incident and reached opposite conclusions, as did a commission appointed by the dictatorship-dominated UN Human Rights Council.

I look forward to Part B of the Turkel Report, and to a report being prepared by Micha Lindenstrauss, Israel's State Comptroller. Lindenstrauss will supposedly be more critical of the IDF and the government, though he'll focus on bad preparation and probably won't find anything illegal.

Israel needs to learn from its mistakes so another fiasco like this won't return. An international investigation is a waste of time.

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