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Gaza Flotilla Panel Report

Gaza Flotilla Panel Report

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Published by Global News Agency
2 September 2011 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today received the report of the independent panel of inquiry examining the May 2010 incident involving a flotilla headed for Gaza which found that Israel’s interception of the vessels was “excessive and unreasonable,” while the flotilla acted “recklessly” in attempting to breach the naval blockade.

The four-member panel, headed by Geoffrey Palmer, the former New Zealand prime minister, was not designed to determine individual criminal responsibility.

Rather, it was tasked with making findings about the facts, circumstances and context of the 31 May incident, in which a convoy of humanitarian aid ships bound for Gaza after departing Turkey was intercepted by Israeli forces leading to the loss of life.

“The loss of life and injuries resulting from the use of force by Israeli forces during the take-over of the Mavi Marmara was unacceptable,” the panel stated, referring to one of the ships on which nine passengers were killed and many others seriously wounded.

It added that there was “significant mistreatment” of passengers by Israeli authorities after the take-over of the vessels had been completed through until their deportation, including physical mistreatment, harassment and intimidation, unjustified confiscation of belongings and the denial of timely consular assistance.

At the same time, the panel says that the Israeli naval blockade on Gaza was imposed as a “legitimate security measure” to prevent weapons from entering Gaza by sea and its implementation complied with the requirements of international law.

The flotilla acted “recklessly” in attempting to breach the naval blockade of Gaza, and that more could have been done to warn flotilla participants of the potential risks involved and to dissuade them from their actions, according to the report.

The panel makes a number of recommendations in its 105-page report, including that Israel should continue with its efforts to ease its restrictions on the movement of goods and people to and from Gaza, and that all humanitarian missions wishing to assist Gaza’s population should do so through established procedures.

“The events of 31 May 2010 should never have taken place as they did and strenuous efforts should be made to prevent the occurrence of such incidents in the future,” states the panel.

Mr. Ban, in a statement issued by his spokesperson, expressed his gratitude to the members of the panel for their hard work and to the parties for their full cooperation.

The panel, which was launched in August 2010, also comprised Alvaro Uribe, former Colombian president; Israel’s Joseph Ciechanover; and Turkey’s Özdem Sanberk.
2 September 2011 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today received the report of the independent panel of inquiry examining the May 2010 incident involving a flotilla headed for Gaza which found that Israel’s interception of the vessels was “excessive and unreasonable,” while the flotilla acted “recklessly” in attempting to breach the naval blockade.

The four-member panel, headed by Geoffrey Palmer, the former New Zealand prime minister, was not designed to determine individual criminal responsibility.

Rather, it was tasked with making findings about the facts, circumstances and context of the 31 May incident, in which a convoy of humanitarian aid ships bound for Gaza after departing Turkey was intercepted by Israeli forces leading to the loss of life.

“The loss of life and injuries resulting from the use of force by Israeli forces during the take-over of the Mavi Marmara was unacceptable,” the panel stated, referring to one of the ships on which nine passengers were killed and many others seriously wounded.

It added that there was “significant mistreatment” of passengers by Israeli authorities after the take-over of the vessels had been completed through until their deportation, including physical mistreatment, harassment and intimidation, unjustified confiscation of belongings and the denial of timely consular assistance.

At the same time, the panel says that the Israeli naval blockade on Gaza was imposed as a “legitimate security measure” to prevent weapons from entering Gaza by sea and its implementation complied with the requirements of international law.

The flotilla acted “recklessly” in attempting to breach the naval blockade of Gaza, and that more could have been done to warn flotilla participants of the potential risks involved and to dissuade them from their actions, according to the report.

The panel makes a number of recommendations in its 105-page report, including that Israel should continue with its efforts to ease its restrictions on the movement of goods and people to and from Gaza, and that all humanitarian missions wishing to assist Gaza’s population should do so through established procedures.

“The events of 31 May 2010 should never have taken place as they did and strenuous efforts should be made to prevent the occurrence of such incidents in the future,” states the panel.

Mr. Ban, in a statement issued by his spokesperson, expressed his gratitude to the members of the panel for their hard work and to the parties for their full cooperation.

The panel, which was launched in August 2010, also comprised Alvaro Uribe, former Colombian president; Israel’s Joseph Ciechanover; and Turkey’s Özdem Sanberk.

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Published by: Global News Agency on Sep 02, 2011
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01/14/2013

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Report of the Secretary-General’s Panel of Inquiryon the 31 May 2010 Flotilla Incident
September 2011Sir Geoffrey Palmer, ChairPresident Alvaro Uribe, Vice-ChairMr. Joseph Ciechanover ItzharMr. Süleyman Özdem Sanberk
 
 2
Table of Contents
1
 
Summary............................................................................................................................3
 
Facts, Circumstances and Context of the Incident....................................................3
 
How to Avoid Similar Incidents in the Future...........................................................5
 
2
 
Introduction.......................................................................................................................7
 
3
 
Summary of the Interim and Final Reports of Turkey’s National Investigation.....14
 
The Blockade...............................................................................................................14
 
The Flotilla...................................................................................................................16
 
The Boarding and Take-Over of the Vessels............................................................18
 
The Treatment of those Detained..............................................................................23
 
4
 
Summary of the Report of Israel’s National Investigation.........................................27
 
The Blockade...............................................................................................................27
 
The Flotilla...................................................................................................................29
 
The Boarding and Take-Over of the Vessels............................................................31
 
The Treatment of those Detained..............................................................................35
 
5
 
Facts, Circumstances and Context of the Incident......................................................38
 
Introduction.................................................................................................................38
 
The Naval Blockade....................................................................................................38
 
The Actions of the Flotilla..........................................................................................45
 
Diplomatic Efforts.......................................................................................................49
 
The Israeli Boarding and Take-over Operation......................................................51
 
The Use of Force on the
 Mavi Marmara
....................................................................54
 
Treatment of the Passengers After the Take-Over Was Completed......................61
 
6
 
How to Avoid Similar Incidents in the Future.............................................................67
 
Introduction.................................................................................................................67
 
The Situation in Gaza.................................................................................................67
 
Naval Blockades in General.......................................................................................70
 
Rapprochement...........................................................................................................74
 
Appendix I: The Applicable International Legal Principles.............................................76
 
Appendix II: Separate Statements from Mr. Ciechanover and Mr. Sanberk...............103
 
1
 
Summary
 
On 31 May 2010 at 4.26 a.m. a flotilla of six vessels was boarded and taken over byIsraeli Defense Forces 72 nautical miles from land. The vessels were carrying people andhumanitarian supplies. The flotilla had been directed to change course by the Israeliforces who stated that the coast of Gaza was under a naval blockade. Nine passengerslost their lives and many others were wounded as a result of the use of force during thetake-over operation by Israeli forces.The Secretary-General established the Panel of Inquiry on the 31 May 2010 FlotillaIncident on 2 August 2010. The Panel received and reviewed reports of the detailednational investigations conducted by both Turkey and Israel. Turkey established a National Commission of Inquiry to examine the facts of the incident and its legalconsequences, which provided an interim and final report to the Panel along with annexesand related material. Israel provided the report of the independent Public Commissionthat it had established to review whether the actions taken by the State of Israel had beencompatible with international law.The Panel reviewed these reports and further information and clarifications it received inwritten form and through direct meetings with Points of Contact appointed by eachgovernment. In light of the information so gathered, the Panel has examined andidentified the facts, circumstances and context of the incident and considered andrecommended ways of avoiding similar incidents in the future. In so doing it was notacting as a Court and was not asked to adjudicate on legal liability. Its findings andrecommendations are therefore not intended to attribute any legal responsibilities. Nevertheless, the Panel hopes that its report may resolve the issues surrounding theincident and bring the matter to an end.The Panel’s Method of Work provided that the Panel was to operate by consensus, butwhere, despite best efforts, it was not possible to achieve consensus, the Chair and Vice-Chair could agree on any procedural issue, finding or recommendation. This report has been adopted on the agreement of the Chair and Vice-Chair under that procedure.
Facts, Circumstances and Context of the Incident
The Panel finds:i.
 
The events of 31 May 2010 should never have taken place as they did andstrenuous efforts should be made to prevent the occurrence of such incidentsin the future.

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