Posts Tagged ‘Mavi Marmara’

The Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara wasn’t Gaza-bound, and the Israelis knew it. Or did they? Needed: Israeli cooperation with an independent investigation

October 25, 2010

 


The Turkish newspaper
Hurriyet reports that the Mavi Marmara, the Turkish ship carrying supplies for blockaded Gaza, had altered their course to avert a diplomatic crisis.

“During our departure, we said we were going to Gaza, but the coordinates that we gave were to Egyptian territorial waters. Everyone was aware of our course to [the Egyptian port] El-Arish,” Bülent Yıldırım, the head of the Humanitarian Relief Foundation, or İHH, said today. “The situation required us to go there.” He added that the U.S. ambassador in Ankara was notified, and told Israeli authorities.

Hurriyet is a credible source, not a mouthpiece for the Turkish government—far from it: it has been so critical of the government and so set on exposing corruption that the Erdogan government, in its most anti-democratic action, is trying to put Hurriyet and its sister publications out of business.

In the same edition the paper reports that the Israeli military chief of staff testified before the Israeli commission investigating the incident that Israeli commandoes fired live ammunition only after the Turks fired first, an account in stark opposition to a recent U.N.-commissioned report into the raid, which said there was “no evidence to suggest that any of the passengers used firearms or that any firearms were taken on board the ship.” (more…)

What’s the true story of the blockade-running Mavi Marmara and the Israel Defense Force: What happened off Gaza? Who to believe?

June 13, 2010

There are two dramatically different stories of the botched May 31 incident that cost at least ten lives and poisoned relations between Israel and Turkey, and perhaps damaged the relations of both with the United States.

In one version, Israeli forces attacked a peaceful group that was trying to deliver humanitarian relief to the besieged people of Gaza; in the other, violent extremists, in league with Hamas, surrounded themselves with naïve civilians while attacking Israeli forces exercising a legal search of a ship attempting to run a legal blockade of Hamas-ruled Gaza.

We won’t know the true story for a long time. The best that could happen would be an objective and unbiased inquiry, but that won’t happen. As George Orwell said, “History is written by the winners.” The Israelis won, and they released video showing Israeli commandos sliding down ropes from helicopters and being attacked with what appear to be metal pipes.

The people on the Mavi Marmara took videos, too. All have been confiscated by the Israeli forces, all except one, snuck past the Israelis by San Francisco-based activist Lara Lee, available here. It records sixty minutes, starting about 30 minutes before the commandos boarded the ship. The dialog is mostly in Turkish, perhaps five percent in English. A brief and admittedly amateur analysis of the video is posted on the website of the United States Naval Institute, here.

Like any government that covers up evidence, Israel is damaging its credibility. Israel’s friends and impartial observers will believe Israel has much to hide, else why would they be hiding so much.

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Israel should apologize to Turkey for the loss of life aboard the Mavi Marmara

June 8, 2010

“We’re sorry.”

Magical words.

When a U.S. C-130 reconnaissance aircraft collided several years ago with a Chinese MIG that had been closely tailing it, the MIG crashed into the sea and the C-130 made an emergency landing in China. The Chinese government delayed releasing the crew, and it looked like a serious threat to U.S.-China relations when the Chinese ambassador paid a call on Secretary of State Colin Powell.

“We demand an apology,” said the ambassador. “We’re sorry,” replied Powell. “You’re sorry?” “Yes, we’re sorry,” Powell repeated

The ambassador was taken aback. “I must talk to Beijing,” he explained and left the State Department. Two hours later he was back with Powell. “Can you regret the loss of life?” he asked. This was a no-brainer for the intrepid Secretary of State.

“Yes, we’re sorry and we regret the loss of life.”

“I can assure you, the American airmen and the wreckage of the plane will be returned immediately,” the Chinese ambassador responded.

And so ended a potentially dangerous confrontation between the United States and China. Two magical words.

If only somebody as sensible as Powell could influence the Israeli government. Israel is about to suffer a costly—and possibly irreversible—breach in relations with Turkey, the only Muslim country it counts as an ally. (more…)


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