B'nai B'rith Endorses Findings of Turkel Commission: Israel Acted Legally in Responding to Gaza Flotilla Incident
B’nai B’rith International commends Israeli commission findings, released Jan. 23, that Israel Defense Forces (IDF) acted legally in its response to the May 31, 2010 flotilla incident, when six so-called humanitarian vessels attempted to break through an Israeli blockade preventing access to Hamas-controlled Gaza. The report affirms Israel’s right to defend itself, and that its actions in the flotilla incident are in agreement with international laws and practices.
Israeli Supreme Court Justice Jacob Turkel led the commission of Israeli members Shabtai Rosenne, international law expert (who died during deliberations); Amos Horev, former president of Technion and military expert; Miguel Deutch, a Tel Aviv University law professor; and Reuven Merhav, former Foreign Ministry director-general and including international observers Nobel Peace laureate David Trimble of Northern Ireland and Kenneth Watkin, a former judge advocate general from Canada. The report concluded that IDF forces had acted “professionally and in a measured manner in the face of extensive and unanticipated violence.”
The report went on to affirm the legality of the Israeli blockade of Gaza, instituted in response to the actions of the terrorist group Hamas, and its increasing control over the region and rocket attacks against Israel. The blockade does allow importation of humanitarian supplies and materials vital to the area’s residents, and Israel offered to receive the goods from the ships at a safe port, and then truck them into Gaza.
“The report affirms Israel acted within established international rights. Israel has the right to defend itself against the smuggling of rockets and other weapons, and the IDF has the right to defend its personnel who face violent resistance” B’nai B’rith International President Dennis W. Glick said.
The report was based on interviews with Israeli soldiers and top Israeli officials including the prime minister and was aided by studying hours of video footage taken by both the military and by the vessels’ passengers. B’nai B’rith supports the findings of the commission’s report, and praises Israel’s ability to investigate itself in a thorough and serious way.
“The independent research and results of the Turkel Commission proves Israel’s commitment to abiding by International laws and practices,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said. “The hostile purpose of the flotilla cannot be denied. The Israel Defense Forces responded legally and professionally within the bounds of uncalled-for violent anti-Israel incitement.”