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Flotilla Fallout

Samara Greenberg

Criticism against Israel’s Monday morning raid on the Gaza-bound Turkish ship, the Mavi Marmara, came fast this week. The condemnations, led by Israel’s former longtime ally, Turkey, began when Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan recalled Ankara’s ambassador to Israel, calling the incident a “bloody massacre.” “Israel stands to lose its closest ally in the Middle East if it does not change its mentality,” he said today.

Other world leaders have also spoken out against the incident. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was “shocked,” claiming it “is very bad.” Catherine Ashton, EU’s foreign affairs chief, called on Israel to launch an investigation into the incident. Spain, which holds the EU presidency, said Israel’s actions were “unacceptable.” And French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner called Israel’s raid “a very grave mistake.”

Also in response, the UN Security Council issued a statement calling for “a prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation” into the matter “conforming to international standards.” Similarly, a majority of the UN Human Rights Council members voted in favor of a Goldstone-like inquiry. The resolution, sponsored by Arab countries, declares that Israel is guilty of violating international law before even launching the investigation. According to the text, the Council: “condemns in the strongest terms possible the outrageous attack by the Israeli forces” and calls for an “independent fact-finding mission to investigate violations of international law resulting from the Israeli attacks on the flotilla ships carrying humanitarian assistance.”

The Obama administration, for its part, has refrained from outright condemning the Israeli government, but also supports an ‘independent’ probe into the events leading to Israel’s raid on the protest flotilla.

Indeed, in the end, the so-called impartial investigation into Monday morning’s events will most likely mirror the Goldstone Report’s findings into Operation Cast Lead. That report falsely accused Israel of targeting civilians while minimizing the extent of Hamas’ terrorist activity and international law violations. Unlike Operation Cast Lead, however, Monday’s raid on the Gaza flotilla was clear-cut. The host of videos released since the incident prove Israel’s soldiers acted in self-defense against attackers on board the ship.