The Turkel report into the attack on the aid ship to Gaza has concluded that Israel acted within international law, and that the soldiers acted in self-defence. As a reminder, nine activists died and several more were injured. Some IDF soldiers were also injured. The summary is here; the international observers’ endorsement here. (The observers were former Northern Ireland first minister David Trimble and a retired Canadian Brigadier-General.) Paragraph 41 of the summary is telling
It should be emphasized that the Commission’s ability to construct a complete picture of the incidents in which force was employed by IDF soldiers is limited for a number of reasons, including the nature of the event, the lack of testimonies by the flotilla participants, and the fact that the scenes in which the events took place were not kept “sterile.” Such an analysis is particularly complex when it is conducted retroactively, under the fluorescent lights of the office and after the fog of war has dissipated.
Nonetheless the summary judges (para 43)
After examining all the material it can be determined that the IDF soldiers acted professionally and in a measured manner in the face of extensive and unanticipated violence. This professionalism was evident, among other factors, in their continuing to switch back and forth between less-lethal and lethal weapons in order to address the nature of the violence directed at them.
The conclusion of the Commission is that – despite the fact that
several incidents have not been fully clarified – overall the actions undertaken were lawful and in conformity with international law (para 48)…
The naval blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip – in view of the security circumstances and Israel’s efforts to comply with its humanitarian obligations – was legal pursuant to the rules of international law.
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 number 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 (para 49).
For those who can stomach it, the full report is here. This is part 1; the forthcoming second part is on the intelligence gathering in advance. The Guardian reports on the inquiry here; the BBC reports here that the Turkish government have rejected the report. They won’t be the only ones. Israel refused an international investigation, and appointed Trimble and Watkin to try to counter criticism that it would not be objective.
The report itself, after the conclusions which are put in the summary and quoted above, says “Now all has been heard, here is the conclusion of the matter”. Both parts of that sentence seem unlikely.