Wednesday, January 26, 2011
U.S. hails Israel for justifying massacre
The U.S. State Department has described Israel's attempt at justifying the excessive use of force against the Gaza-bound Freedom Flotilla aid convoy and the killing of nine Turkish nationals as a "credible and impartial" effort.
The praise came on Monday after an Israeli investigation panel declared Tel Aviv's military attack on the Freedom Flotilla as "legal" under international law.
"We think that this is an independent report, credible and impartial and transparent investigation that has been undertaken by Israel," State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley said.
This is while an independent Turkish committee investigating the same incident concluded on Sunday that "the Israeli Army used excessive force against the Mavi Marmara (the lead ship of the six-vessel fleet).”
Israeli commandos attacked the convoy in international waters on May 31, killing nine Turkish activists and injuring about 50 others.
The Israeli assault on the aid convoy provoked an international outcry, prompting Knesset members to set up a commission to investigate the legality of the raid as well as Israel's blockade of Gaza.
Crowley told reporters that UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon's panel remains the "primary forum for the international community to review the incident." But he called the completion of the first part of the Israeli probe "an important step," as it looked to the release of the second part over the next few months.
"And it will contribute to the broader process that continues through the (UN) secretary-general," he added.
The assault earned Israel international censure, prompting Knesset members to appoint a commission headed by former Judge Jacob Turkel to examine both the military operation's legality and Israel's blockade.
The first part of the panel's report, released Sunday, claimed that the Israeli soldiers who took part in a raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla last May which resulted in the deaths of nine Turkish citizens had acted in self-defense.
This is while the activists aboard the ships were unarmed and said they were merely attempting to peacefully deliver aid to the blockaded Gaza Strip. Moreover, they were attacked in international waters.
The Israel panel also alleged that Israel's three-and-a-half year blockade of the Gaza Strip does not break international law. Ynetnews
In its preliminary findings released the same day, a Turkish investigation said Israeli troops had used 'disproportionate' force in boarding the flotilla of ships to prevent them from reaching Israeli-blockaded Gaza.
Responding to the report's release on Sunday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the Israeli report had "no value or credibility," with the Turkish Foreign Ministry issuing a statement saying it was "appalled and dismayed" at the report. Haaretz.
FACTS & FIGURES
The United States is Israel closest ally. The United States previously has vetoed almost all anti-Israeli resolutions. Israelnationalnews
There are more than 50 U.S.-based lobbying groups that support Israeli policies in the United States in various ways.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) advocates for pro-Israel policies to the Congress and Executive Branch of the U.S.
Each year, AIPAC is involved in more than 100 legislative and policy initiatives involving Middle East policy or aimed at broadening and deepening the U.S.-Israel bond.
Israel receives about $3 billion in direct foreign assistance from the U.S. each year, which is roughly one-fifth of America's foreign aid budget.
During Israel's December 2008-January 2009 all-out war on the Gaza Strip, the United States failed to take a stance against the killing of almost 1,400 Palestinians by Israeli fire.
American officials, including President Barack Obama, have on numerous occasions stressed their unquestionable support for Israel.