Special to My Catbird Seat
July 4, 2010
The Most Honorable Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu
In response to the world’s outrage (except the U.S.) against Israel’s May 31st murderous attack on peace activists aboard the “Free Gaza Flotilla” delivering humanitarian aid to besieged Gaza, Benjamin Netanyahu and his Cabinet on Monday, June 14, 2010 voted in favor of creating an internal commission called the “Independent Public Commission” that includes three Israelis and two foreign observers to investigate the legality and circumstances of the IDF’s raid on the Flotilla that led to the death of nine Turkish peace activists.
As its practice Israel has never allowed an international investigation of its war crimes. Israel flatly rejected the U.N.’s “statement” calling for such an investigation. Obama as usual caved in to Israel’s rejection and agreed to an internal Israeli investigation.
The appointed members of the investigation commission are:
1. Former Supreme Court Justice Jacob Turkel: 75, Chair
–Justice Turkel has declared that he doesn’t believe this panel should exist and dismisses the need for foreign “observers
2. Shabtai Rosen: 93, Professor of International Law
–From 1948-1967 he served as a legal adviser in the Foreign Ministry. In 1953 Ben Gurion directed Ariel Sharon’s elite force 101 to attack the West Bank village of Qibya (Operation Shoshana). Sixty nine innocent Palestinians were massacred; many in houses blown up over their heads; along with the destruction of 45 homes, a school and a mosque. Shabtai Rosen advised Moshe Sharett, Foreign Minister, to cover up the massacre by passing a law allowing collective punishment of Palestinian border settlements and blaming them for initiating the attack to which the IDF responded. In other words, a cover up of this war crime.
When the world condemned Israel for the attack Ben Gurion issued a statement denying that the IDF was involved. He said:
“None deplores it more than the Government of Israel, if … innocent blood was spilled The Government of Israel rejects with all vigor the absurd and fantastic allegation that 600 men of the IDF took part in the action … We have carried out a searching investigation and it is clear beyond doubt that not a single army unit was absent from its base on the night of the attack on Qibya.”
Decades of Israeli war crimes against Palestinians, Lebanese and other Arab nationalities were constantly denied by Israel, blamed on the victims, with no allowance for international investigation of its war crimes from massive ethnic cleansing to repeated massacres and genocide against civilians.
3. Brigadier General Amos Horev: 86, former president of Haifa’s Technion.
The Two Foreign Observers are:
1. Lord William David Trimble, from Northern Ireland:
–Co-Founder of “Friends of Israel”, ironically, formed the same day of the deadly IDF raid, May 31, 2010. He is joined by staunch supporters of Israel like John Bolton, Dore Gold, and Spain’s former right-wing prime minister, Jose Aznar.
At its founding, the group released this statement:
“This initiative “is promoted by people who are not Jewish and whose
motivations are based on the deep conviction that Israel is part of the
Western world. In fact, today Israel is a fundamental actor for the future
of the West. Although the peace process is important, the members of Friends
of Israel Initiative are more concerned about the onslaught of radical
Islamism as well as the specter of a nuclear Iran since these are threats
affecting not only Israel, but the entire world. The sponsors of this Initiative believe there is no West without Israel.”
2. Ken Watkin: Former Canadian judge advocate general.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the move to set up an inquiry would demonstrate clearly “to the entire world that the state of Israel acts according to law, transparently and with full responsibility.”
According to the Prime Minister’s Office, the commission’s mandate will be limited to:
–Addressing the legality of the Gaza naval blockade
–Legality of Israel’s actions within the context of International Law, and the Goldstone Report.
–Examine the identity, actions and real intentions of the flotilla’s organizers, especially the Turkish group IHH, which Israel alleges has ties to terrorist groups.
The two foreign observers will not be able to view confidential material or vote on any decision by the commission.
The commission will not hear testimony from the flotilla passengers. It will not interview participating IDF soldiers in the attack but will rely on the IDF’s internal investigation report that found Israel acted legally and in compliance with international law in its “self defense” raid of the Flotilla where its soldiers were ambushed, attacked, lynched, and shot.
According to a CNN report Deputy Minister Daniel Ayalon said there were 75 mercenaries on board the ship with ties to Al Qaeda. He stated that weapons were found on board the ships and that $10,000 was found on the dead bodies. He said that it’s Turkey and the passengers who owe Israel an apology for the raid, not Israel.
The first meeting of the commission was held on Wednesday, June 16, prior to the arrival of the two foreign observers. It was decided that the discussion will be held in Hebrew but that the observers will have access to English translations when warranted.
After a few quick meetings the Commission submitted its final report to Prime Minister Benjamin on July 4, 2010.
The Report states:
At the request and appointment by the Most Honorable Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Turkel Commission carried out its duty faithfully, transparently, and in an open and fair minded manner depending solely on the facts as presented by Israel is proud to issue its final report as follows: It was a deep honor to serve Israel and its Jewish people.
WHEREAS Israel’s history has been one of victimhood at the hands of Arab armies and Palestinian terrorism.
WHEREAS Arab armies attacked Israel in 1967. Israel nevertheless defeated the invaders and was forced to occupy the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem.
WHEREAS the Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem showed their gratitude to the benevolent and civilizing Israeli presence in Eretz Israel by adopting terrorism as their modus operandi against innocent Israeli soldiers and Jewish settlers.
WHEREAS Hamas, a terrorist organization in Gaza, violently took over Gaza in 2005 thereby establishing an existential Islamist threat to Israel’s security.
WHEREAS in self defense Israel four years ago had to establish a total blockade of Gaza by air, land and sea to prevent weapons from reaching Hamas that has fired thousands of rockets over six years killing 3 Israeli civilians.
WHEREAS Israel in self defense attacked Gaza for 23 days in 2008-2009 that resulted in the killing of 13 Israelis, 3 of them civilians, the rest were honorable and courageous soldiers.
WHEREAS 700 Israeli haters and Anti-Semites from Turkey and 40 nations decided to sail a Flotilla (Free Gaza Flotilla) to break Israel’s legal naval blockade of Gaza, a “terrorist Iranian entity”; Israel in self defense tried to peacefully warn the Flotilla that their approach to Gaza is a breach of Israel’s security and sovereignty.
WHEREAS the Flotilla ignored Israel’s repeated warnings, the IDF had no choice but to approach the Flotilla and board it peacefully in International Waters to prevent weapon smuggling to Hamas.
WHEREAS militant members of the Flotilla attacked the IDF with various weapons forcing the soldiers to open fire in self defense which tragically resulted in injured soldiers and the death of nine Turkish citizens.
After reviewing all the videos, facts, and testimony by Israel’s Prime Minister, the Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and Israel’s Chief of Staff, the Commission has reached the following conclusions:
- Israel’s siege and naval blockade of Gaza is legally justified under the U.N. Charter and International Law that grant member states the right to self defense by any means necessary.
- Given that the Flotilla was repeatedly warned not to approach Israel’s legal naval blockade of Gaza and that Israel is willing to deliver their aid to Gaza and the Flotilla’s outright rejection of the warning, Israel had no choice but to board the Turkish ship the Mavi Marmara that carried hundreds of so called “peace activists”.
- Given that the ship was boarded by lightly armed soldiers, the militants on board attacked and injured several soldiers who in self defense fired their weapons killing nine of the Turkish mercenaries.
- We find the international community’s outrage at this incident to be outrageous and Anti-Semitic. No nation will allow militants with weapons to breach its sovereignty and deliver weapons to a terrorist organization. Hamas is a terrorist organization with a few hundred lightly armed militants dedicated to the annihilation of Israel, the world’s fourth most powerful army in possession of hundreds of nuclear weapons.
- We find the Goldstone Report to be biased, unsubstantiated, and Anti-Semitic in its conclusion that Israel committed “war crimes”, and “crimes against Humanity” in its incursion into Gaza in 2008-2009. The Goldstone panel refused to meet with Israeli officials to hear their balanced view of the circumstances surrounding the incursion. The claim that Israel used banned weapons is false.
We agree with the statement of Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman regarding the Goldstone Report:
“[the] commission’s conclusions were pre-determined… members of the panel did give the facts a chance to confuse them.”
- We support Israel’s historical principle never to allow an international investigation of its self defense operations because Israel knows well that the entire world (except Obama, Congress, and the Jewish dominated financial system, banks and media) hates Israel and wishes its total destruction. No other civilized nation from the U.S., Canada, Europe, to Australia, have ever allowed an international investigation into their war crimes against innocent civilians across the third world.
- We applaud Israel’s honorable decision to internally investigate this incident, a process lacking in many countries such as Iran, China, Russia, and most of the Muslim world.
- We condemn Turkey, an Islamist state, a harborer and supporter of terrorist states like Iran and the terrorist organizations of Hezbollah and Hamas, for its deliberate support of the Flotilla’s provocative actions against Israel forcing its hand to raid the Flotilla.
- We applaud the Arab States (especially Egypt that is Israel’s partner in Gaza’s siege by building another Apartheid Wall to seal its Rafah crossing into Gaza) in their private support of Israel’s siege of Gaza and its action against the Flotilla. In particular we express our deepest gratitude to Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the Palestinian Authority, who asked President Obama to tell Israel NOT to lift the naval blockade of Gaza in order to further weaken Hamas
- Finally the Commission wishes to express their deep gratitude to America, the only country in the world that constantly stands with Israel, in the person of President Obama and Congress for understanding, supporting, and blocking any Anti Semitic international investigation of Israel’s self defense operation against the Flotilla.
Our Conclusion despite the worldwide attack on the members and mandate of this honorable Commission (Haaretz called it a “farce”) by world governments, U.N. organizations, the European Parliament, the International Red Cross, and all Human Rights Organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, we deem that the Turkel Commission carried out its duty in a legal, credible, and honorable manner. If you don’t believe us ask the Congress of the world’s sole superpower, the United States.
Thereby our final conclusions and recommendations are as follows.
- We find Israel Not Guilty of all charges brought against it by the International Community. It broke no laws but simply acted on its right to self defense.
- We recommend that the report of the Turkel Commission be the final word on this matter and that no further investigation be carried out by the U.N. or any other entity
We the Undersigned, Members of the Commission present this Final Report to the Honorable Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu on July 4, 2010.
–Former Supreme Court Justice Jacob Turkel
–Shabtai Rosen: Professor of International Law
–Brigadier General Amos Horev:
The Two International Observers:
–Lord William David Trimble
Mohamed Khodr is a political activist who frequently writes on the plight of Palestinians living under the brutal occupation of Israel, U.S. Foreign Policy, Islam, and Arab politics.