UN Human Rights Council Report by five independent UN rights experts contradicts findings of Palmer Report that Israel used 'unreasonable force' in 2010 raid on Gaza flotilla, but that naval-blockade of Gaza legal.According to an independent panel of UN human rights experts who reported to the UN body on Tuesday, they are disputing a conclusion reached by a separate UN probe into Israel's raid on the Gaza-bound aid ship Mavi Mamara. Israel's naval blockade of the Gaza Strip violates international law. The Palmer Report on the Israeli raid of May 2010 that killed nine Turkish activists including one Turkish American citizen said earlier this month that Israel had used unreasonable force in last year's raid, but its naval blockade of the Hamas-ruled strip was legal.
|The Mavi Marmara ship aboard which Israel's raid of a Gaza-bound flotilla left nine Turkish activists including one Turkish American citizen dead. The Palmer Commission report on the May 31, 2010 events was leaked on September 1, 2011.|
|Photo by: AP|
The panel of five independent UN rights experts rejected that conclusion, saying the blockade had subjected Gazans to collective punishment in a "flagrant contravention of international human rights and humanitarian law." The ongoing four-year blockade has "deprived 1.6 million Palestinians living in Gaza of fundamental human rights," they said.
In pronouncing itself on the legality of the naval blockade, "the Palmer Report does not recognize the naval blockade as an integral part of Israel's closure policy towards Gaza which has a disproportionate impact on the human rights of civilians," they said in a joint statement. In an earlier fact-finding mission named by the same UN forum to investigate the flotilla incident also found in a report last September that the blockade violated international law. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says the blockade violates the Geneva Conventions.
Israel says its Gaza blockade is a precaution against arms reaching Hamas and other Palestinian guerrillas by sea. However, in some of my earlier blog posts I have documented how Israel's ally the United States since the 1990's has actively funded Hamas and under President Obama's administration has continued this policy of funneling money to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood which includes the terrorist group Al Qaeda which are designated terrorist organizations according to the US State Department. In addition to this, Obama, Hillary Clinton and 54 members of Congress have taken bribes funneled through CAIR which is controlled by Hamas in order to continue to provide them funds, illegally which are then used as alleged by the US and Israel to purchase weapons from Iran and Syria.
The four-man panel headed by former New Zealand Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer found Israel had used unreasonable force in dealing with what it called "organized and violent resistance from a group of passengers." This "unreasonable force" was blatant murder of the activists which in some cases included point blank gunshots to the head. The activists also possessed nothing more than knives and clubs to use in self defense against automatic weapons used by Israel.
Because of this incident, Turkey has recently downgraded ties with Israel who still refuses to issue an apology to Turkey, The United States or the family members of those who were killed. Instead, the Israeli government and media simply refers to the aid workers as "terrorists" and glorifies the killings in many instances found in recent Israeli news articles. These recent developments have also caused Turkey to send a new group of humanitarian aid ships to Gaza which are being escorted by the Turkish navy and which Israel is again directly challenging which have prompted Turkey to issue "Rules of Engagement" in order to bypass the Israeli blockade.
Richard Falk, UN special reporter on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories and one of the five experts who issued Tuesday's statement, said "the Palmer report's conclusions were influenced by a desire to save Turkish-Israeli ties and that the Palmer report was aimed at political reconciliation between Israel and Turkey. It is unfortunate that in the report politics should trump the law," he said in the statement.
About one-third of Gaza's arable land and 85 percent of its fishing waters are totally or partially inaccessible due to Israeli military measures, said Olivier De Schutter, UN special reporter on the right to food, another of the five. At least two-thirds of Gazan households lack secure access to food, he said. "People are forced to make unacceptable trade-offs, often having to choose between food or medicine or water for their families." The other three experts noted on physical and mental health, extreme poverty and human rights violations and access to water and sanitation.
Related: Turkey Declares Rules of Engagement with Israel: Warships 12 miles outside Israeli territorial waters are to be engaged