Israel Embassy On The UN Sec-Gen Panel's Flotilla Report
Response of the Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations to the publication of the UN Secretary-General’s Panel Report on the Flotilla Incident
Israel appreciates the publication of the UN Secretary-General’s Panel report on the Flotilla Incident. The report is a serious and comprehensive document dealing with the events before, during and after the incident.
Israel carried out its own intensive investigations into the incident, which complied with the highest international standards. Nevertheless, as a good faith gesture towards UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and following a specific request of Turkey, Israel agreed to participate in this unique international inquiry, and fully cooperated with the Panel throughout its process.
As part of its extensive cooperation with the UN Panel, Israel shared its own investigation (the Turkel report and related materials) with the UN. This was done due to Israel’s deep respect for the Secretary-General and the credibility of the process developed for the work of the panel. Israel also nominated a member to the panel, Mr. Joseph Ciechanover, who fully participated in its work.
Israel notes that the Panel found both the naval blockade and its enforcement, including in international waters, to be legal. It found that Israel had legitimate security concerns from Hamas violence and weapons trafficking to Gaza that permitted it to enforce a naval blockade. The Report concludes that IDF personnel faced significant, organized and violent resistance from passengers, which required them to use force for their own protection. The violent motivations of the flotilla organizers were brought to light, and the Panel expressly called to end all further flotillas. It emphasized that any assistance to Gaza should only be transferred through designated land crossings, in consultation with the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority. As for the action of IDF soldiers, Israel affirms that they acted in self-defense while responding to what the Panel called violent provocation and threats to their lives.
Relations with Turkey have been, and remain, very important to Israel. Accordingly, Israel has made significant efforts to reach a bilateral agreement that would enable both countries to put the flotilla incident behind them and to improve relations. Now that the UN Secretary-General’s Panel Report is published, we hope that a compromise in such a spirit will be achieved.
Israel regrets any loss of life or injuries during the incident. Israel, for its part, accepts the Panel’s Report and hopes that Turkey will work with Israel on restoring their ties and improve relations in the mutual interest of both countries.