Hugh Pope offers a thoughtful commentary on the UN Human Rights Commission's September 23, 2010, report on the Mavi Marmara incident. While Israeli officials were at pains to dismiss the report out of hand, Pope shows that the report reflects a careful weighing of evidence. The report disproves key aspects of Israel's account, including the allegation that the passengers were armed with firearms. The report establishes that two of those killed on board were documenting the boarding with video equipment, including Furkan Dogan, a U.S. citizen. (Dogan was shot twice in the head at close range.)
The report also addresses the intentions of the passengers, some of whom were intent on repelling an Israeli assault rather than meekly submit to being boarded in international waters.
The Human Rights Council finds that the Israeli blockade of Gaza constitutes collective punishment of Gazan civilians.
Reflecting on this episode, one wonders about the dubious strategic judgment of Israeli decision-makers who decided to assault a Turkish flagged vessel in international waters, particularly given the importance of Israel's relationship with Turkey.
Speaking of Turkey, a snapshot from a recent session with the Turkish Foreign Minister is available at Kamil Pasha.