A good day for Israel at the UN, and that's news
The UN on Thursday released its long-awaited report on last year's flotilla raid, focusing on the lead ship where Israeli commandos were savagely attacked by violence-bent Turkish nationals and, in self-defense, fired back, killing nine of them. The flotilla was bent on breaching Israel's blockade of Gaza.
The conclusions of UN panel, headed by Geoffrey Palmer, a former prime minister of New Zealand, received general approval from Israel, while the Turkish government of Prime Minister Erdogan went ballistic in objecting to virtually every conclusion.
Specifically, the Palmer report concludes that Israel's blockade of Gaza is legal under international maritime law because Israel is under persistent attack from Gaza. Turkey strongly contested this point.
Regarding Erdogan's insistence on an Israeli apology, the report absolves Israel from taking any such step. It simply suggests that Israel issue a statement of "regret" and pay compensation to the families. Again, this is something Israel has long offered to do, but it's totally unacceptable to Erdogan.
Again siding with Israel, the report is explicit in accusing the Turks, who beat the commandos with metal pipes and other weapons as they descended from a hovering helicopter, of resorting to "reckless" violence. The report also criticizes the Turkish government for failing to weed out these goons before the ship took sail.
And the Palmer panel complimented Israel's investigation of the incident as the work of a professional and independent commission. It dismissed the Turkish report as basically propagandistic.
While Israel generally welcomed the Palmer report, it took issue with one important conclusion -- that while the Israeli commandos were in the right in using violence against the Turkish attackers, the violence was "excessive." The report notes that some of the Turks were hit at close range by commando fire and some were hit by bullets in the back. This is a bit of Monday morning quarterbacking: Once the commandos ran into fierce beatings and attacks -- one of them was tossed bodily from an upper to a lower deck -- the commandos understandably were not on a firing range, but amidst a bloody, close-quarters melee, fighting for their lives.
A minor conclusion of the report is that the commandos didn't handle the other passengers too gently in seizing control of the ship.
But all in all, miracle of miracles, this is a report that tilts strongly in favor of Israel and just as strongly against Turkey. Coming from the UN, it is a welcome revelation indeed.