Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Reactions to the Palmer Report

The UN's Palmer Report has yet to be officially released and yet already it is causing a stir. The vast majority of the report is clearly in Israel's favor, confirming so much of what we said from the beginning. The passengers - not all, but many - had clear and violent intent.

The blockade is legal - confirmed by Israeli legal experts and now by the United Nations. That being the case, an attempt to break the blockade can be seen as an illegal act, one that the nation imposing the legal blockade has a right to stop.

Much ado from the Arab side is made of the few lines in the report that speak of excessive violence - though clearly that violence began (as the UN admits) with the passengers attacking the soldiers. Since the so-called humanitarians on the Mavi Marmara were armed (yes, clubs and knives are weapons when in the hands of those who intend harm), and since these thugs immediately set upon the soldiers - as they landed, one by one, from the helicopters above, some of the soldiers were disarmed.

These paint-guns and small caliber pistols could easily have been discharged by the thugs and not by the soldiers. Just as some of the soldiers were shot...it is very plausible that some of the thugs were shot by their own comrades in madness. Among the dead was Furkan Dogan. He was shot 4 times. One Israeli critic said he was executed.

To draw the conclusion that being shot in the face, back of the skull and two places in the leg equals an execution is absurd based solely on this limited fact. One has to wonder what Mr. Dogan was doing at the time he was shot - four times no less. If, for example, Mr. Dogan had a knife and was attempting to stab a downed soldier, the shot to the back of the skull, back and leg is explained. If in an attempt to then stop the soldier who was shooting at him, Mr. Dogan abandoned his attempt to stab the downed soldier and instead turned on the one firing the shots, this would then explain the wound to the face. Any scenario, in the absence of fact, can be plausible. All that we know is that Mr. Dogan chose to go on the ship and clearly engaged the soldiers in battle.

The Palmer Report confirms what Israel said, namely:

1. The naval blockade was legal.

2. Israel had the right, within the legal blockade, to stop the flotilla - which had the declared purpose of breaking the legal blockade.

3. Turkey should have stopped its citizens - it didn't and that makes them culpable here.

4. The thugs on the flotilla (not all, as confirmed by Palmer) but certainly those of IHH and others (as singled out by Palmer) had violent intentions.

5. The soldiers had the right to defend themselves against the violent assault that occurred as they landed on the ship, which they had a legal right to board.

All the rest is speculation by those who were not there at the time. How Mr. Dogan was shot cannot be known - unless, perhaps, forensic experts examined the body - no evidence of that in the Palmer Report.

Since this was not a frontal attack in which two sides faced off, but rather utter chaos in which hoards of thugs attacked the soldiers from all directions - the location of the wounds tells us nothing of who attacked whom in specific instances. What we do know from the videos is that lightly armed Israeli soldiers boarded the Mavi Marmara believing (somewhat foolishly) that they were landing on a ship of humanitarian activists with peaceful, political intentions.

What they found were vicious attackers bent on injury, if not murder. Soldiers were beaten, stabbed, and one was even thrown down to a lower deck. That none were killed is a miracle, a gift from God, and a sign that even in this chaos, their training assisted them. The Palmer Report stands as a testimony of sanity after a chaotic and violent event.

Had Mr. Dogan not engaged the soldiers, in all likelihood, he would still be alive today. His death and those of the other nine attackers, rests on the shoulders of Turkey, the IHH, and those who assisted him in taking his doomed place on the Mavi Marmara. Israel has NOTHING for which to apologize.

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