Israeli military finds flaw in flotilla raid 8Jul10 July 10, 2010

Palestine Note -  8 July 2010

Washington – The Israeli military has released a draft report of its inquiry into the May 31 flotilla raid that left nine activists dead, finding fault with military coordination and government planning, Ynet News reported Thursday.

The investigation, led by Major-General (res.) Giora Eiland, did not single out any military officials or soldiers but rather focus on systemic shortcomings. According to the report, military commanders were complacent in their planning for the raid on the Mavi Marmara, not preparing to meet violence any greater than had been experienced on the other ships. The army made no preparations for an alternative plan, should they meet major violence.

The report grouped the raid’s failures into three categories: failure to incorporate and coordinate all intelligence; failure to prepare all possible alternative plans that would have avoided the use of lethal firearms; lack of coordination between military forces involved.

Several of Eiland’s critiques within the draft report will not be included in the final version, namely those enumerating government failures leading up to the raid. Eiland’s scope for the final report is limited to military actions. In the draft report, however, the chief investigator expressed his belief that had the government given the coming flotilla more attention, the complications of May 31 could have been avoided.

According to Eiland, had the Israeli leadership taken more diplomatic steps, the ships’ voyage could have been prevented all together. The Security Cabinet could have also made efforts to ease the Gaza blockade, and so preempted the aid convoy’s aims, said Eiland. Such steps would have prevented or lessened the public and political backlash that resulted from the raid.

Eiland spoke two weeks ago at the Institute for National Security Studies about the raid, expressing sentiments the report now echoes. “When we wait for an incident to happen, the number of responses is limited,” urged Eiland. “However, if we prepare several months in advance, the range of possibilities at our disposal becomes wider.”

Last week, Hamas lawmaker Aziz Dweik spoke about the aftermath of the May 31 flotilla. “When we use violence, we help Israel win international support,” said Dweik. “The Gaza flotilla has done more for Gaza than 10,000 rockets.

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