Marmara Raid Was in Accordance With International Law

Published: January 23rd 2011
in News » Israel

Mavi Marmara

The Turkel Commission, created to investigate the flotilla incident on May 31, has unanimously agreed that Israel’s military actions in capturing the Mavi Marmara were in accordance with international law.


The commission is officially known as the Public Commission to Examine the Maritime Incident of May 31, 2010. It is chaired by Jacob Turkel, a former Israeli Supreme Court Justice who is an expert in civil law.  The commission is comprised of four Israelis and 2 international observers, one of which is retired Canadian Forces Brigadier General Ken Watkin.  The commission has been tasked with releasing two reports regarding issues raised by the government over the flotilla incident.


The first report released on Sunday addressed the military action taken by Israel and the legality, under international law, of the naval blockade imposed by Israel on the Gaza Strip.


According to the concluding remarks of the committee members and observers, “The naval blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip - in view of the security circumstances and Israel’s efforts to comply with its humanitarian obligations - was legal pursuant to the rules of international law. The actions carried out by Israel on May 31, 2010, to enforce the naval blockage had the regrettable consequences of the loss of human life and physical injuries. Nonetheless, and despite the limited number of uses of forces for which we could not reach a conclusion, the actions taken were found to be legal pursuant to the rules of international law.”


The commission concluded that the IHH and their affiliated activists, the group who boarded the Mavi Marmara, were civilians taking a direct part in hostilities. While the activists were civilians, the report stats that they lost the protection of their civilian status for such time as they directly participated in the hostilities.


The finding of the commission is explained by the IHH activists who knowingly, and willingly, armed themselves with weapons such as iron bars, axes, knives, slingshots and metal objects.


“Overall, the IDF personnel acted professionally in the faxes of extensive and unanticipated violence. This included continuing to switch back and forth between less-lethal and lethal weapons in order to address the nature of the violence directed at them,” the commission said.


Lastly, the commission concluded that the naval blocked imposed of the Gaza Strip complies with international law and that the “effective control” of the Gaza Strip ended when the disengagement was completed.


The reasons for the naval blockade was due to military-security concerns but the commission found that Israel complied with the humanitarian obligations imposed on her.


“The imposition and enforcement of the naval blockade on the Gaza Strip does not constitute “collective punishment’ of the population of the Gaza Strip,” the report stated.

Related articles: (Turkel Commission, Flotilla, Mavi Marmara, Israel, Gaza)

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