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Israel cannot be trusted to investigate its military over the Gaza flotilla raid. Only an international, independent inquiry will do

Posted by on Jun. 27, 2010 at 10:57 AM
  • 33 Replies

Off the hook: Israel's own Widgery inquiry into Bloody Monday

Israel cannot be trusted to investigate its military over the Gaza flotilla raid. Only an international, independent inquiry will do

Israeli forces approach one of six ships bound for Gaza
Israeli forces approach one of six ships bound for Gaza. Photograph: Pool/Reuters

The man who ordered the attack on the aid flotilla to Gaza, set up the inquiry, chose its members and determined its mandate, has announced its outcome even before it has started. Binyamin Netanyahu's beaming smile showed an Israeli prime minister confident that he had faced down international protestations over the Israeli attack on the Gaza aid flotilla, buying off the pressure with an inquiry that even the Israeli newspaper, Ha'aretz, described as a farce.

For those without crystal balls, Netanyahu helpfully told us that the inquiry will show that Israel took "appropriate defensive actions in accordance with the highest international standards". Well, it will say that, we can be sure.

Is this a rerun of the Widgery inquiry into Bloody Sunday that falsely found that civilians opened fire on British soldiers first? (Israel stated that it was the civilians who attacked first, as if the boarding of the ships never happened). Let us hope that it will not take 38 years to find a Saville, unearth the truth and for someone to apologise for this Bloody Monday massacre as well as others.

The inquiry chairman, Jacob Turkel, has stated that holding people to account is a marginal issue. Israeli soldiers will not testify at the inquiry. Would any of the activists co-operate with or trust this kangaroo court? Would an activist beaten up by Israeli soldiers, who has seen their friends and colleagues killed and shot, feel safe going back? Will all their photographs and video footage be released intact after having been illegally confiscated by the Israeli authorities? Israel was very fast to release its own carefully edited selected footage.

Turkey has understandably dismissed this inquiry. A valid inquiry requires Turkey's co-operation to share the findings of the post-mortems into the nine Turkish citizens killed. They reportedly show that one victim was shot five times from less than 45cm.

Netanyahu has hand-picked two international observers including Lord Trimble who on the day of the attack on the flotilla was starting a "Friends of Israel initiative". They will not be allowed to vote on the inquiry's conclusions. In case of need, the commission can hold closed sessions as it sees fit.

Do not expect the inquiry team to be so naive as to produce a report that will totally exonerate Israeli actions. No doubt there will be references to alternatives that should have been used, operational shortcomings, grey areas in international law and lessons to be learned.

If Israeli actions were legitimate, and if their soldiers did act properly and legally, then what has Israel to fear? If it wants to restore its image then only a proper international, independent inquiry reporting to the UN security council would suffice. Such an inquiry would have to have full powers making it mandatory on all parties to co-operate including Israel, Turkey and the activists. Any party found responsible for illegal actions should then be held to account.

The Israeli record of investigating itself is shockingly poor. Even when the Kahan Commission into the Sabra and Shatila massacres found Ariel Sharon to have "personal responsibility", he still retained ministerial office in Begin's cabinet, and before long became foreign minister and ultimately prime minister. The Shamgar commission set up to investigate the massacre of 29 Palestinians at the Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron in 1994 exonerated both the army and the settler leadership of all responsibility, and recommended the partitioning a site that had been a mosque for nearly 1,400 years.

The Landau commission investigating Israeli interrogation techniques, not only took no action but deemed Israel had the right to "use moderate physical pressure" – torture to the rest of us. It even outlined in a secret part of the report exactly how this should be done. Torture continues today, with recent reports of a 15-year-old Palestinian boy threatened with torture by use of car battery leads on his hands and genitalia.

While a UN inquiry into Israel's assault on Gaza found evidence of potential war crimes and crimes against humanity, the initial Israeli investigation only prosecuted one soldier – for the use of a stolen credit card. History repeats itself, as it seems a credit card of one of the activists, taken by Israeli security ended up being used in Tel Aviv.

Impunity also extends to soldiers and settlers in the occupied territories. The Israeli human rights group, B'Tselem has reported for years on how settlers are never held to account for their crimes. Rabbi Moshe Levinger, a Hebron settler leader, was given a five-month sentence for killing a Palestinian, reduced to only four. While western fatalities attract more attention from the Israeli authorities and international media, justice rarely ensues and the families of Rachel Corrie or Tom Hurndall, both killed by Israeli soldiers, still await the truth of what happened to their loved ones even today.

How can a government that uses overwhelming force against civilians, torture, detains children without trial, steals land and resources of another people, demolishes their homes and property, and has violated so many laws and conventions it would be difficult to list them on one page, seriously be expected to hold itself to account?

Sadly, British ministers have already welcomed the inquiry despite its shortcomings and lack of independence. Suspicions have been aroused that acceptance of this charade was in return for a cosmetic easing of the blockade of Gaza, and not what is needed, its full and final lifting.

The international community, and in particular the United States, never says enough. Like a spoilt child, Israel can do as it pleases. Should we be surprised that Israel uses fake British passports to assassinate people in third countries? The impact of this lack of accountability was highlighted in the report of the UN fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict in 2009 arguing that this only led to further crimes.

Stitching up an inquiry will be a Pyrrhic victory for Israel, just as Widgery did not help the British. The blockade of Gaza is unravelling, its barbaric siege and imprisonment of Gaza further exposed to a horrified world, with more flotillas prepared to run the gauntlet of Israeli gunboats and boarding parties. Hamas gets stronger as do more hardline elements in Gaza. Israeli leaders are not asking the right questions. Only a root-and-branch change in their policies and actions towards the Palestinians will bring them both security and international acceptance that they crave.


by on Jun. 27, 2010 at 10:57 AM
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Replies (1-10):
diospira
by Bronze Member on Jun. 27, 2010 at 12:50 PM


"Israeli leaders are not asking the right questions. Only a root-and-branch change in their policies and actions towards the Palestinians will bring them both security and international acceptance that they crave."


They are not asking the right questions because they do not want to know the answers. The road to security and international acceptance would require them to change course, something they have shown themselves to be unwilling to do. Their actions justifiably outrage the international community and spark condemnation. When will they see that they reap what they sow?


Palestinians are systematically dehumanized by MSM for a reason.

Its a good thing Palestinians arent human

Friday
by HRH of MJ on Jun. 27, 2010 at 1:13 PM

 I'm still learning about this issue but based on what I do know would have to agree that Israel cannot be trusted to police themselves.

 


Thank God......it's Friday!!!

tericared
by on Jun. 27, 2010 at 3:02 PM

 

Quoting Friday:

 I'm still learning about this issue but based on what I do know would have to agree that Israel cannot be trusted to police themselves.

 No they can not....

Kaelansmom
by on Jun. 27, 2010 at 3:04 PM

 

Quoting Friday:

 I'm still learning about this issue but based on what I do know would have to agree that Israel cannot be trusted to police themselves.

 Of course not.... they are going to make this seem like it was all the fault of the slain party... (Blegh and some people will praise them for it)

Gypsyuma
by Gold Member on Jun. 27, 2010 at 11:32 PM

Since when do murderers investigate their own murders?

Duhhhhhhh....

Yet we endorsed that shit.  How freakin' embarassing.

LoveMyBoyK
by Ruby Member on Jun. 27, 2010 at 11:38 PM
Let me ask something and please answer honestly: if an independent group were to investigat the incident and happened to find that the Israeli version is the truth, would any of the anti-Israeli mamas accept that or would you start looking for some proof of Israeli bias or influence?
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jaxTheMom
by on Jun. 27, 2010 at 11:51 PM

I honestly, sincerely think that an honest, independent group would provide an answer I'm good with.

But fairness is not something that happens easily; we are only just seeing an apology for Bloody Sunday in Ireland.  It just came forth the past week, you should look it up if you aren't familiar with it.  My guy is a Brit, who's parents were almost killed by an IRA bomb.  I used to work and be very comfortable with a lot of Irish folk who I'm sure are quite satisfied by the apologies now.  No easy way about it, NWIM?

It's really hard to do what you feel is due-diligance, look at all sides, come to what you feel is a pretty logical conclusion and then watch everybody much it up for political purposes.  So, if this answers your question, I'm pretty sure that the Israeli government mucked it all up.  I think it's pretty blantant.  But I'm still open to anything, even if it's hard to swallow.

Quoting LoveMyBoyK:

Let me ask something and please answer honestly: if an independent group were to investigat the incident and happened to find that the Israeli version is the truth, would any of the anti-Israeli mamas accept that or would you start looking for some proof of Israeli bias or influence?


LoveMyBoyK
by Ruby Member on Jun. 28, 2010 at 12:05 AM
Thanks:) I agree that it is not easy to find a fair source for investigation. Any group found is made up of people, all of whom are bound to already have their own opinion on both Israel and Palestine.


Quoting jaxTheMom:

I honestly, sincerely think that an honest, independent group would provide an answer I'm good with.

But fairness is not something that happens easily; we are only just seeing an apology for Bloody Sunday in Ireland.  It just came forth the past week, you should look it up if you aren't familiar with it.  My guy is a Brit, who's parents were almost killed by an IRA bomb.  I used to work and be very comfortable with a lot of Irish folk who I'm sure are quite satisfied by the apologies now.  No easy way about it, NWIM?

It's really hard to do what you feel is due-diligance, look at all sides, come to what you feel is a pretty logical conclusion and then watch everybody much it up for political purposes.  So, if this answers your question, I'm pretty sure that the Israeli government mucked it all up.  I think it's pretty blantant.  But I'm still open to anything, even if it's hard to swallow.


Quoting LoveMyBoyK:

Let me ask something and please answer honestly: if an independent group were to investigat the incident and happened to find that the Israeli version is the truth, would any of the anti-Israeli mamas accept that or would you start looking for some proof of Israeli bias or influence?



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tericared
by on Jun. 28, 2010 at 1:29 AM

 

Quoting LoveMyBoyK:

Thanks:) I agree that it is not easy to find a fair source for investigation. Any group found is made up of people, all of whom are bound to already have their own opinion on both Israel and Palestine.

 If one could be found.. I Would accept their findings ..but as you stated above. I would bet 99% of the people who have even so much as heard about what happened have already formed an opinion..

blondekosmic15
by Ruby Member on Jun. 28, 2010 at 3:16 AM

And you believe that those outside will investigate fairly!? Many in the UN & other organizations hate Israel & will not investigate w/ an unbiased heart~ 

 




                        


Pink Blondie Glitter Glitters


 

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