Gaza flotilla raid comes back to haunt Benjamin Netanyahu
Donald Macintyre writes political sketches for The Independent, having been Jerusalem correspondent since 2004, covering Israel and the Occupied Territories, as well as travelling for the paper to Iraq, Turkey, Jordan, Libya and Egypt.
Thursday 14 June 2012
The Israeli decision-making process before the raid which led to nine Turkish deaths at sea aboard the Gaza-bound vessel Mavi Marmara in May 2010 had "essential and significant flaws", a government report has found.
The incident, in which Israeli troops shot dead nine passengers aboard the Turkish vessel as some of them resisted the naval raid, led to a severe deterioration of Israeli-Turkish relations, which has yet to be reversed. It also triggered renewed international pressure to lift the embargo on Gaza imposed by Israel in June 2007 when Hamas seized full internal control of Gaza by force.
The country's State Comptroller, Micha Lindenstrauss, said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decisions before the raid were taken "without proper co-ordination, documentation, or preparation, despite the fact the government, the IDF's top officers, and senior intelligence officials were all aware that the Turkish flotilla wasn't like the flotillas that preceded it".
In particular his report, published yesterday, accuses the Prime Minister of failing to "internalise" several warnings of a potentially violent confrontation from the then military chief of staff, Gabi Ashkenazi.
In doing so, the report appears to call into question Mr Netanyahu's own testimony to the comptroller that "in no place, in no discussion" with the military was "a problem with the operation raised".
The Prime Minister's Office yesterday said that "in the test of results" Israeli citizens were enjoying a level of security unprecedented for many years.
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