With much satisfaction, many of us are able to say today, I told you so! According to the National Post, a UN Inquiry into the May 31, 2010 Gaza flotilla raid and boarding of the Turkish ship, the MV Mavi Marmara, “found that Israel’s blockade of Hamas-ruled Gaza is legal and the Israeli government owes no apology or reparation to Turkey.”
Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, set up the commission of inquiry last year with his expressed hope that the panel would serve to prevent similar incidents in the future, and improve deteriorating relations between Israel and Turkey. The UN commission was headed by Geoffrey Palmer, a former New Zealand prime minister.
The committee slaps Israel’s wrist for the military operation claiming, among other things, that it was “premature” and used “excessive force.” For this, Israel is only asked to express regret and not to apologize to Turkey.
The same UN committee criticizes Turkey for not doing enough to stop the flotilla when it set sail in May 2010 and for its weak investigation into the events that followed. This is in sharp contrast to the UN committee’s conclusion that Israel’s official investigation by its Turkel Commission was conducted in a professional and independent manner.
Israel’s Turkel Commission was led by a retired Supreme Court Judge Jacob Turkel and overseen by two International observers: Northern Irish former First Minister and Nobel Peace Prize winner William David Trimble and Canadian Forces former Judge Advocate General, Ken Watkin QC.
Turkey is a NATO ally and shows signs of being a modern democratic state. Its uneven and, even, duplicitous role in the events of May 2010, however, casts doubt on any valid claim it might have had to membership in the European Union.
Although the UN report vindicates Israel and exposes that many versions of events spread by last year’s flotilla activists were false, there are anti-Israeli activists who are unlikely to accept it. In this group, I fear, are many Canadians who choose to accept Hamas’ lies and deceit, including labour union leaders and NDP supporters, who will not rest until Israel ceases its legal sea blockade of Hamas-ruled Gaza.
Canadian leftists, including a substantial proportion of NDP members, have been insisting for years that the sea blockade violates international law. Well, clearly, it does not, and I hope they will soon stop their blind disapproval all Israeli actions. Though, I won’t hold my breath while waiting.