Hamas congratulates UN flotilla probe 24July10 July 25, 2010

Palestine Note -  24 July 2010

Following the United Nations Human Rights Council decision to appoint a team to investigate the circumstances surrounding the May 31 flotilla raid, Hamas congratulated the move and called for Israel to “honor the decisions of the investigation,” Ynet news reported Saturday.”Israel must be obligated to honor the decisions of the investigation, and not be allowed to escape punishment,” Ynet quoted Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri.

Abu Zuhri continued, “[w]e need to have guarantees to force Israel to honor the outcomes of this investigation.” The establishment of the Goldstone committee to investigate inappropriate conduct during Operation Cast Lead was a good call, he said, but “the international community allowed Israel to evade its legal ramifications and standing trial,” the Hamas spokesman said in the report.

Fatah welcomed the decision as well, Ynet said quoting a statement from the group: “It’s time to punish Israel’s war crimes and make Israel stop behaving as if it were above the law.”

Israel has been consistently resistant to an external investigation of the May 31 Israeli raid of Gaza-bound aid ships. It has since appointed teams to conduct internal investigations of the raid. Maj-Gen Giora Eiland has conducted and reported on his investigation of military procedure, and retired Israeli justice Jacob Turkel continues to lead an investigation of any violations of international law during the raid or caused by the blockade of Gaza.

The rough treatment and seizure of property from other activists have prompted a string of law suits against the Israeli government, the most recent of which came from three Spanish flotilla passengers.

During the May 31 raid of the Turkish-owned Mavi Marmara, engagement between commandos and activists ended with 9 Turkish passengers dead and several Israeli soldiers injured.

The activists’ deaths severely strained Israeli-Turkish relations, which had previously been robust. Turkey has told Israel relations will not be normalized until Israel agrees to formally apologize to Turkey, pay compensation to the activists injured and families of those killed, submit to an international investigation of the May 31 incident, and end the blockade on Gaza.


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