Turkey's final word on Israeli attack: Unlawful

Turkey unveils its final report on Israeli attack on Gaza-bound flotilla of humanitarian aid ships, insists Israil must pay compensation

Turkey's final word on Israeli attack: Unlawful

Turkey's final report on the deadly May 31 Israeli attack on Gaza-bound flotilla of humanitarian aid ships said Israel must pay compensation to families of victims and added that Israel's attack must be condemned as unlawful.

In the conclusion part of the report unveiled Friday and submitted to the Panel of Inquiry set up by the UN Secretary-General, Turkish National Commission of Inquiry has reached the following factual and legal conclusions:

1. The international humanitarian aid convoy was a civilian initiative. Its aims were peaceful. It constituted no threat to Israel.

2. All the Turkish ports used by the convoy possessed ISPS Certificates. All participants, ships and cargo departing from Turkish ports were subjected to the entire range of border and boarding checks, in a manner consistent with international standards.

3. There were no firearms on board the ships.

4. Prior to the convoy's departure, an understanding was reached among Turkish, Israeli and American officials that the convoy would eventually steer towards the Egyptian port of Al-Arish, when faced with compelling opposition. Events demonstrated that Israel did not abide by this understanding.

5. No attempt was made by the Israeli forces to visit and search the vessels before taking any other action.

6. Israeli forces severed the ships' communication capabilities. This put the vessels, passengers and crew at risk.

7. The Israeli forces launched an attack against the convoy approximately 2 hours after the last communication with the vessels.

8. The attack took place in international waters, 72 nautical miles from the nearest shore.

9. When the Israeli forces took control of the ship, nine passengers had been killed. Israel seriously breached the fundamental right of a human being, namely the "Right to Life."

10. Five of the deceased were shot in the head at close range. Furkan Dogan received 5 gunshots wounds, three of them in the head. After he fell down receiving the first bullet in his foot, two Israeli soldiers kicked and shot him in execution style. Cevdet Kiliclar, a photographer, was killed by a single distant shot to the middle of the forehead. The nine dead passengers suffered a total of 30 bullet wounds.

11. As a result of the attack over 50 had sustained wounds of varying gravity. One wounded passenger remains in coma.

12. The attack was carried out by an overwhelming Israeli force comprising frigates, zodiacs, helicopters, submarines, and fully-equipped elite commando units.

13. Prior to their attack, the Israeli forces did not proceed with standard warning practices, i.e. firing across the bow, to indicate an imminent use of force.

14. Israeli forces initially tried to board the Mavi Marmara from zodiacs. At this stage, the Israeli forces fired the first shots.

15. The nature and magnitude of the Israeli attack caused panic among the passengers who, in fear for their lives, reacted in self-defence.

16. The Israeli military did not at any time pause to re-assess the situation with a view to consider the least violent options in face of the passengers' self-defence.

17. The Israeli forces opened fire with live ammunition from the zodiacs and helicopters onto the passengers on deck, resulting in the first casualties.

18. As soon as the attack started, the Captain changed the course of Mavi Marmara to a bearing of 270 degrees heading West, in opposite direction of the Israeli coast. However, Israeli frigates approached from the starboard bow and closed in, forcing the convoy to turn to the direction of Israel.

19. Israeli soldiers fast-roped down to the Mavi Marmara from helicopters. Three were subdued by the passengers. They were taken to the lower decks where they were treated for their non-lethal injuries.

20. Israeli soldiers shot indiscriminately, killing and wounding passengers, once on the upper deck.

21. The shooting spree of the Israeli soldiers continued in spite of the white flags waved by the passengers and multilingual surrender announcements made over the ship's PA system.

22. The Israeli forces attacked the other ships as well. Violence by Israeli soldiers occurred on all the ships of the convoy.

23. The total number of wounded on the convoy exceeded 70 from a host of nationalities.

24. On no occasion did the passengers use firearms against their Israeli assailants.

25. Once the Israeli military assumed control of the entire convoy, the vessels were diverted to the Israeli port of Ashdod.

26. Throughout the hours-long journey to Ashdod, the passengers aboard the Mavi Marmara, including the Captain, and some on the other ships were subjected to severe physical, verbal and psychological abuses.

27. These abuses continued at Ashdod, during the transfer to prisons/hospitals, en route to the Ben Gurion Airport until the passengers boarded the airplanes for departure.

28. Throughout the ordeal, passengers from virtually all the nationalities represented in the convoy were indiscriminately and brutally victimized by Israeli forces.

29. Freedom of navigation on the high seas is a long-standing universally accepted rule of international law.

30. The high seas are governed by the laws of peace time.

31. The law of naval blockade applies only in international armed conflicts.

32. Israel does not recognize Palestine as a State. Israel has, therefore, consistently treated its conflict with Hamas as a non-international armed conflict.

33. The international community and the UN continue to regard Israel as an occupying power of the Palestinian Territory, which includes the Gaza Strip.

34. The "naval blockade" imposed by Israel off the Gaza Strip is unlawful under international law and its enforcement is therefore unlawful.

35. The "blockade" was also unlawful in its implementation and practice.

36. The "blockade"s "open-ended" nature did not comply with mandatory notification requirements under customary international law, particularly those relating to duration and extent.

37. The "blockade" was unlawful as it was not reasonable, proportional or necessary.

38. The "blockade" was excessive in the damage it inflicted on the population of the Gaza Strip in comparison to the expected military advantage.

39. The "blockade" was unlawful as it constituted collective punishment of the entire civilian population of the Gaza Strip.

40. Israel's ultimate objective through its "blockade" has been to punish the people of the Gaza Strip for supporting Hamas. This is why Israel chose in 2007 to impose a "blockade" although there were other options, and to persistently maintain it even though it did not yield its purported military objectives.

41. The international community has condemned the Israeli "blockade" of the Gaza Strip as a form of collective punishment.

42. Under customary international law, vessels carrying humanitarian aid cannot be lawfully attacked.

43. As a consequence of its attack on 31 May 2010, Israel has violated inter alia the right to life, the right to liberty and security of the person, freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention, prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of the passengers.

44. Israel is liable for compensating the damages and losses it caused.

45. Israel's attack must be condemned as unlawful. Any other disposition would establish a dangerous precedential derogation from the paramount right of freedom of navigation on the high seas.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 12 Şubat 2011, 10:05

Muhammed Öylek