MEMO, January 24, 2011
News that Israel's Turkel Commission has found that Israeli soldiers fired at unarmed civilians on a peace flotilla in "self-defence" should come as no surprise. The Zionist state is adept at covering up its many military "mistakes" so why should this decision of the government-appointed commission about the assault and hijacking of the Freedom Flotilla on 31 May 2010 be any different? Anyone who thought that the oft-declared "only democracy in the Middle East" would be interested in seeking justice for the victims of Israel's trigger-happy soldiers really ought to know better. It is just a couple of weeks since an unarmed 65-year old man was shot and killed in his bed in a case of "mistaken identity"; his killer didn't even check his identity before opening fire with fatal consequences. The soldier in question was discharged from the army last week; reports say that he is "unlikely" to face any criminal charges. No great outcry has arisen from the international community about injustice, nor have calls been made for the killer to brought before a court; life goes on, and it looks as if that is what is going to happen with the latest Israeli whitewash.
In order to give the Turkel Commission a modicum of independence, two international observers were appointed; Lord David Trimble and a Canadian Brigadier-General, Ken Watkin, have both apparently "endorsed" the commission's finding. No surprises there either. Trimble is the same politician who opposed for decades any UK government inquiry into the Bloody Sunday shootings in Derry in 1972. He was appointed to the commission in the wake of setting up a pro-Israel support group in Europe. Watkin's home nation is one of Israel's staunchest supporters in the international arena.
In a response which is indicative of the arrogant nature of Israeli politicians, Defence Minister Ehud Barak's claim that the Turkel findings "proved that Israel was a law-abiding country that could inspect itself and which respects the norms and rules of the international system" would be laughable if not so serious. His ostrich-like claim belies all the evidence, but truth has never really been at the core of Zionism and its supporters. The state of Israel was built on lies and bloody terrorism, a tradition that continues to this day and provided with cover by pseudo-legal reports such as Turkel's. An independent UN report last year found that the Israeli soldiers used an "unacceptable level of brutality" in the assault.
Israeli-Arab MK Hanin Zuabi was on the flotilla when it was attacked. She said that the report basically repeats the Israeli government's version of events at the time. Anyone with even half a memory will recall that Israeli government spokesmen were given almost free rein on the Western media for the first few days after the assault; no voice which dissented from the Israeli narrative was allowed to be heard. One US academic told a BBC radio audience that it is standard in such situations for the "official version" of events like the flotilla assault to be discredited completely "when the real story comes out". The Turkel Commission is Israel's attempt to push its own version of what happened at the expense of reality. Ms. Zuabi pointed out that the three-man commission (one of whom was 95 years old and died during the commission's inquiry) based its findings "on the testimony of the diplomatic and military officials who made the decision to attack and kill". In a report in Haaretz newspaper, Barak went on to claim that there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza, cementing his ostrich reputation and complete lack of any grasp on the real world.
The Israeli government appears to be hell-bent on a policy of isolationism, cutting itself off from the rest of the world when its opinions and approval of it actions are not shared by others apart from its fanatical supporters, something that is happening with ever more frequency, thankfully. This cavalier attitude towards international law and conventions has seen Israel defy the will of the international community expressed in UN resolutions by ignoring the Security Council and General Assembly more times than any other state. The Zionist state ignored the condemnation of its annexation wall ("security barrier") by the International Court of Justice and continues to build it, destroying Palestinian lives and land in the process. Its ongoing colonisation of the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem is being carried out in defiance of international law, and its "defence" forces have committed war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity against the population of Gaza.
In short, the Turkel whitewash serves yet again to prove, if more proof is needed, that Israel has all the trappings of a rogue state, out of control and behaving, as one of its politicians once said it must, "as a mad dog" so that the world will leave it alone. In that, the Israel lobby is extremely successful; its control over the US legislature, Britain's main political parties and powerful sections of the international media mean that criticism, if it comes forth at all, is muted; the international equivalent of a parent tut-tutting its spoilt offspring's embarrassing anti-social behaviour.
The reaction of the Turkish government to this report is important; nine Turkish citizens were murdered by Israeli soldiers on the Mavi Marmara in what have been described by eyewitnesses as "executions". Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that the Turkel findings have "neither value nor credibility" but there is no clear indication yet what, if any, steps his government will take. Once Israel's main ally in the region, the siege of Gaza and Operation Cast Lead against the territory two years ago forced Turkey to rethink its relationship with the Zionist state.
Washington's response will be interesting; Israel's main ally and supporter has seen its credibility as an honest broker in the dead-in-the-water peace process shattered by its client state's refusal to freeze illegal settlement building in East Jerusalem. Will the Obama administration accept the findings of Turkel and thus try to restore some of Israel's credibility? Or will Hillary Clinton and co. acknowledge the Turkel report for what it is, just one more whitewash to add to Israel's long list? The arguments will continue about Israel's "de-legitimisation" and the Israel lobby will swing into action to put its own positive spin on Turkel. However, those who continue to stand up for justice for the Palestinians and their supporters, especially the victims of Israeli brutality on the Mavi Marmara, can and will see through more Israeli lies and be able to say with confidence that nothing de-legitimises Israel more than its own illegal actions, of which the attack on the Freedom Flotilla was but one of many. Turkel will go down in history as another nail in pernicious Zionism's coffin.