´Common sense must reign in Mavi Marmara case´ (JERUSALEM POST) By YAAKOV KATZ, JPOST.COM STAFF 05/29/12)
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Former IDF chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi said
Monday that he hoped common sense would prevail, in response to
reports that a Turkish high criminal court had unanimously accepted
an indictment seeking life sentences for him and three others over
the 2010 Mavi Marmara raid. He also expressed hope that Turkey would
reestablish diplomatic ties with Israel.
OC Israel Navy V.-Adm. Eliezer Marom, former Military Intelligence
head Amos Yadlin and former IAF intelligence head Brig.-Gen. Avishai
Levy were also charged in the indictment which seeks nine counts of
aggravated life imprisonment. The former IDF commander were charged
over their alleged involvement in the killing of nine Turks on a Gaza-
bound aid ship, Turkish newspaper Today´s Zaman and the Andalou
Agency reported Monday.
"From the beginning of the affair, I appeared before every forum,
sometimes on my own, to defend IDF soldiers who performed their job
out in the field on behalf of Israel," Ashkenazi said. "If the price
of what I did is not being able to visit Turkey - I am willing to pay
Relations between the regional powers deteriorated sharply after
Israeli commandos raided the Mavi Marmara aid vessel in May 2010 to
enforce a naval blockade of the Gaza Strip and killed nine Turks in
clashes with activists on board the ship.
Turkey expelled Israel´s ambassador and froze all military
cooperation after a UN report into the incident released last
September largely exonerated the Jewish state.
On February 8, 2011, the report of Israel’s Turkel Commission that
examined the events surrounding the protest flotilla held that “the
naval blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip... was legal pursuant to the
rules of international law.”
Moreover, the “actions carried out by Israel on May 31, 2010, to
enforce the naval blockade had the regrettable consequences of the
loss of human life and physical injuries.
“Nonetheless, and despite the limited instances of uses of force for
which we could not reach a conclusion, the actions taken were found
to be legal pursuant to the rules of international law.”
In September, Turkey threatened to take Israel to the International
Court of Justice in The Hague over the Marmara raid.
Senior IDF officials have said they are taking legal precautions to
protect soldiers and officers who participated in the operation to
stop the Mavi Marmara.
The IDF Military Advocate- General’s Office established a joint team
with the Justice Ministry to study the UN-commissioned Palmer Report,
released in September 2011, which justified Israel’s decision to
impose a sea blockade on the Gaza Strip but also criticized the
navy’s operation to stop the Gaza-bound flotilla.
The report said that “the loss of life and injuries resulting from
the use of force by Israeli forces during the takeover of the Mavi
Marmara was unacceptable.”
The team was studying the legal consequences of the report and
possible ways to provide protections to IDF soldiers.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak had tried to broker a compromise with
Turkey in an effort to minimize the legal exposure of the commandos.
Reuters, Yaakov Katz and Oren Kessler contributed to this report. (©
1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 05/29/12)
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