(JERUSALEM) – The commission that led an investigation into Israel’s naval blockade and subsequent raid of a ship carrying aid materials to Gaza said Israeli forces did not violate the law.
The Turkel Committee, comprised of four Israeli members and observers from Ireland and Canada, concluded that “the actions taken were found to be in legal pursuit to the rules of international law,” according to a report in The Jerusalem Post.
"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 to enforce the naval blockade had the regrettable consequences of the loss of human life and physical injuries. Nonetheless, and despite the limited number of uses of force for which we could not reach a conclusion, the actions taken were found to be legal pursuant to the rules of international law,” the group wrote in its 300-page report.
Israeli forces intercepted six ships that were carrying humanitarian aid and other materials on May 31, 2010. Five of the ships did not resist, but one, the MV Mavi Marmara, proved to be the focus of the commission’s investigation. Nine passengers were killed in the incident as they fought against Israeli troops, and many others were injured.
"It is possible to determine that the IDF soldiers acted professionally and with great presence of mind in light of the extreme violence which they hadn't expected...This professionalism was evident in the fact that they continued to exchange their lethal weapons for the less lethal option and visa versa in order to give a response that was appropriate to the nature of the violence directed at them,” the Turkel Commission wrote.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio