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UN Commission Flotilla Massacre Report

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 UN Commission Flotilla Massacre Report - by Stephen Lendman


Despite irrefutable evidence, including the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) concluding last September that Israel committed serious "violations of international law, including international humanitarian law" by massacring nine Gaza Flotilla activists, injuring dozens more, in international waters, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appeased Israel by appointing his own commission.


On July 25, Haaretz writer Barak Ravid headlined, "UN delays flotilla report as Jerusalem and Ankara keep talking," saying:


It was another postponement to give Israel and Turkey more time to resolve differences. The expected July 27 release will be "delayed for three more weeks, to August 20, according to a senior Israeli official." 


It's the third time the release was postponed, Israel wanting more time to alter its current findings.


On July 24, YNet News writer Aviel Magnezi headlined what's widely known, "Report: UN Panel rules IDF boarded Marmara 'to kill,' " saying:


"The Turkish newspaper Hurriyet said Sunday that the (UN Palmer report) on last year's Gaza-bound flotilla (ruled) that IDF soldiers boarded the ship with an intention to kill."


As a result, Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan demands an apology. So far, Israel stubbornly refuses. Instead, it's willing to compensate victims' families and issue a statement regretting the loss of lives, a disingenuous gesture, mocking the activists they murdered in cold blood.


Hurriyet said Israel fears an apology may facilitate lawsuits against commando perpetrators and their commanders. Moreover, its authorities never say they're sorry or admit wrongdoing, even when caught red-handed. In fact, there's no disputing what they did in May 2010. Lies, coverup and denials change none of the facts.


Ravid's same day article headlined, "Turkey threatens diplomatic action pending Israel apology for Gaza flotilla raid," saying:


Turkey's backup plan if Israel won't apologize includes "further downgrading relations (already) on shaky ground."


On July 23, Hurriyet said it'll reduce its Tel Aviv presence further. In fact, there's been no ambassador there for over a year. After Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon insulted former ambassador Ahmet Oguz Celikkol, he left. Kerim Uras was appointed to replace him, but Israel's refusal to apologize delayed his posting.


Turkey had been represented by its deputy ambassador, but he also left after serving there for three years, maybe just as fed up with Israeli antics. According to Hurriyet, unless Israel apologizes, he won't be replaced, leaving only a second secretary in place.


Without an apology, Erdogan also plans visiting Gaza as part of his backup plan, entering through Rafah Crossing during an Egypt visit. Originally scheduled for July 21, he postponed it to give Israel more time.


Turkish envoy Ozdem Sanberk named a July 27 deadline. The Turkish newspaper Sabah said an agreement in principle was reached in which Israel would apologize for an operational failure, causing nine deaths. 


If issued, it will be an offensive, mealy mouthed gesture, so outrageous, in fact, it's hard imagining any government would accept it.


As the same time, Israeli hard-liners, including Foreign Minister/Deputy Prime Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon, and perhaps Netanyahu oppose an apology in any form to resolve the ongoing stalemate.


How it ends isn't known. What's clear is that both sides want resolution, though it's hard seeing how satisfying one party will please the other. At the same time, compromise in some form is how all diplomatic deadlocks are ended, especially when both sides are equally matched.


Whatever the outcome, however, grieving families won't ever again see lost loved ones, or ever forgive Israeli commandos for killing them.


A Final Comment


When agreed, the 1993 Oslo Accords were a take or leave it deal, Palestinians getting virtually nothing in return for surrendering its sovereignty to Israel. Thereafter, it was all downhill.


Nonetheless on July 4, Haaretz writer Akiva Eldar headlined, "The Oslo Accords are all but dead, " saying:


Israeli settlement construction on stolen Palestinian land continues unabated. Nonetheless, pro-Israeli hardliner/Clinton advisor Dennis Ross wants Palestinians to abandon independence. In return, he says, Netanyahu may negotiate a final-status agreement, in fact, as meaningless as Oslo because settlement expansions won't end, nor will Palestinians get rights so far denied.


In fact, Oslo stipulated that final status was to be resolved 13 years ago. "The time has come," said Eldar, "to put the Oslo Accords out of their misery," though doing so won't end Palestinian suffering.


At the same time, International Middle East Media Center writer Saed Bannoura headlined on July 24, "Israeli government officials: Palestinian statehood bid could void Oslo Accord," saying:


"(S)ome high-level officials in the Israeli cabinet (want) Israel (to) call off the (agreement) if the Palestinian Authority moves ahead with a bid for statehood (in) September.


Along with defense, finance, foreign and trade ministry officials, Israeli National Security Advisor Ya'akov Amidror "is reportedly preparing (Israel's) response" to Palestine's "upcoming bid....and one plan is to void" Oslo, as if doing so, in fact, mattered.


Technically, it would dissolve satrap PA authority and its limited role in providing Palestinians the meager services Israel allows. In fact, with or without Oslo, nothing meaningful will change. 


Military occupation will continue. So will Gaza's siege, and regular Israeli attacks and incursions will keep terrorizing residents lawlessly. As a result, Israel's threat is more bluff than ultimatum to withhold what's already systematically denied. 


It's why de jure UN membership and independence are vital first steps to breaking free, but the struggle to do so has miles to go to succeed. Backing off, however, assures continued bondage and persecution, a choice no legitimate government should accept. 


Palestine's, of course, doesn't, its real authority in Gaza, not the coup d'etat West Bank one, representing Israel, not its own people. Fully breaking free requires ending that intolerable status, letting democratically elected leaders govern, not selected Israeli ones.


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 


Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.





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