Israeli army investigator – flotilla was ‘preventable’ 23Jul10 July 25, 2010

Palestine Note -  23 July 2010

Israeli Maj-Gen Giora Eiland said in an interview Friday with Reshet Bet radio that May 31 flotilla raid was preventable, the Jerusalem Post reported.

“Three months before the flotilla there were many courses of action which could have prevented it,” said Eiland.

JPost reported:

“Three months before the flotilla there were many courses of action which could have prevented it,” said Eiland, head of a military commission charged with conducting an internal investigation of the Gaza-bound flotilla, which was boarded by Israeli commandos and left nine Turkish citizens dead.

Eiland suggested Israel “could have opened the Gaza crossings in advance, before the Turkish flotilla.”  The crossings were expanded to allow more aid to go through, but this was only done in the wake of international pressure after the flotilla.

The General also said Israel knew in advance about the changing political winds in Turkey and tightening ties with the IHH, the organization behind the flotilla. However, he thought this only strengthened Israel’s resolve to continue with the predicted course of events, which led to the boarding of the Mavi Marmara, flagship of the flotilla.

The Major-General headed an internal military investigation into the flotilla raid, which left nine Turkish passengers dead and several Israeli soldiers injured. The final findings of the probe were released June 12, finding serious fault with higher-level planning leading up the raid. In particular, he criticized navy leadership for not having a Plan B in case violence broke out. But Eiland also ultimately deemed the use of force by Israeli commandos justified.

Three Spanish passengers from the flotilla – two activists and one journalist – have now filed a suit against Israeli leadership over the raid, the Jerusalem Post reported Friday. The civil suit is aimed at Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, as well as Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Vice PM Dan Meridor, Navy Commander Eliezer Marom, and three other ministers.

According to the Spanish daily Republico, the claim includes accusations of light torture and unlawful arrest and deportation. The suit also accuses the Israeli leadership of crimes against humanity.

In 2009, a suit was brought against Giora Eiland in the Spanish High Court over accusations of war crimes committed during the 2008-2009 Israeli offensives against Gaza.

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