2011-09-05: Something is seriously wrong when it is stated in an official United Nations (UN) Report that any aspect of the Gaza Blockade by Israel is legal, under International Law.
On 2 August 2010 … UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, established a Panel of Inquiry to report on the 31 May 2010 Gaza Flotilla Incident in the International Waters of the Mediterranean Sea. The Panel Team consisted of 4 Members …
- Sir Geoffrey Palmer, Chair ;
- President Álvaro Uribe, Vice-Chair ;
- Mr. Joseph Ciechanover Itzhar ; and
- Mr. Süleyman Özdem Sanberk.
The Panel’s Report was released by the United Nations last Friday, 2 September 2011 … and can be downloaded from the following address … http://www.un.org/News/dh/infocus/middle_east/Gaza_Flotilla_Panel_Report.pdf
The Findings and Recommendations contained in the Panel’s Report have been widely covered since then, at national and international levels, in the various news media.
For a More Balanced Presentation of the Recent UN Gaza Flotilla Report, however, the following short statement by Mr. Sanberk, a graduate of the Law Faculty at Istanbul University and former Turkish Ambassador, must be reproduced – in full – and widely circulated.
Mr. Sanberk’s Statement can be viewed on Page 105 (the last page !) of the Report …
” I hereby register my disagreement with the Chairmanship on the following issues contained in the report:
- The question of the legality of the blockade imposed on Gaza by Israel ;
- The actions of the flotilla ;
- Naval blockades in general ;
- Appendix: The applicable International legal principles.
This, for the following reasons:
– On the legal aspect of the blockade, Turkey and Israel have submitted two opposing arguments. International legal authorities are divided on the matter since it is unprecedented, highly complex and the legal framework lacks codification. However, the Chairmanship and its report fully associated itself with Israel and categorically dismissed the views of the other, despite the fact that the legal arguments presented by Turkey have been supported by the vast majority of the International Community. Common sense and conscience dictate that the blockade is unlawful.
– Also the UN Human Rights Council concluded that the blockade was unlawful. The Report of the Human Rights Council Fact Finding Mission received widespread approval from the member states.
– Freedom and safety of navigation on the high seas is a universally accepted rule of international law. There can be no exception from this long-standing principle unless there is a universal convergence of views.
– The intentions of the participants in the International Humanitarian Convoy were humanitarian, reflecting the concerns of the vast majority of the International Community. They came under attack in international waters. They resisted for their own protection. Nine civilians were killed and many others were injured by the Israeli soldiers. One of the victims is still in a coma. The evidence confirms that at least some of the victims had been killed deliberately.
– The wording in the report is not satisfactory in describing the actual extent of the atrocities that the victims have been subjected to. This includes the scope of the maltreatment suffered by the passengers in the hands of Israeli soldiers and officials.
In view of the above, I reject and dissociate myself from the relevant parts and paragraphs of the report, as reflected in paragraphs ii, iv, v, vii of the findings contained in the summary of the report and paragraphs ii, iv, v, vii, viii and ix of the recommendations contained in the same text.”