Sunday, September 26, 2010

UN: Two men killed on ‘Mavi Marmara’ were holding cameras when they were shot

by Philip Weiss

We've failed to post anything on the United Nations Human Rights Council's report issued three days ago on the Israeli raid on the Gaza flotilla last May that found that Israel had committed grave violations of human rights law and international humanitarian law. But big deal we're late--the mainstream media have largely ignored the report.

I have to read the report through. But here's the UN link. I see that the report describes the operation as disproportionate, with "unnecessary and incredible" violence, and "an unacceptable level of brutality."

And glancing at the narrative, the report finds that two of the 9 men killed in the raid, including American Furkan Dogan, were holding cameras and using them to film the Israeli invaders when they were shot. Additionally-- despite the sticks and catapults that some passengers used on the commandos-- the four people killed on the lower, bridge deck were not posing any physical threat to the raiders, who were then on the top deck, and in fact were trying to get out of the way.

Also notice the description of Gaza conditions as an unacceptable disgrace in the 21st century and the poetical language about Jewish victimhood (as I read it anyway) near the end-- Jews must find the strength to pluck from their memory rooted sorrows. Excerpts:

The Mission does not find it plausible that soldiers were holding their weapons and firing as they descended on the rope [from the helicopter]. However, it has concluded that live ammunition was used from the helicopter onto the top deck prior to the descent of the soldiers.... Further, the Mission finds that the Israeli accounts so inconsistent and contradictory with regard to evidence of alleged firearms injuries to Israeli soldiers that it has to reject it..

At least one of those killed [on the top deck, American Furkan Dogan] was using a video camera and not involved in any of the fighting with the soldiers....

Israeli soldiers fired live ammunition both from the top deck at passengers on the bridge deck below and after they had moved down to the bridge deck. At least four passengers were killed,73 and at least nine injured (five with firearms injuries) during this phase. None of the four passengers who were killed, including a photographer who at the time of being shot was engaged in taking photographs [Cevdet Kiliclar] and was shot by an Israeli soldier positioned on the top deck above, posed any threat to the Israeli forces. There was considerable live fire from Israeli soldiers on the top deck and a number of passengers were injured or killed whilst trying to take refuge inside the door or assisting other to do so...

The Mission is not alone in finding that a deplorable situation exists in Gaza. It has been characterized as ‘unsustainable’. This is totally intolerable and unacceptable in the 21st Century. It is amazing that anyone could characterise the condition of the people there as satisfying the most basic of acceptable standards. The parties and the international community are urged to find the solution that will address all legitimate security concern of
both Israel and the people of Palestine both of whom are equally entitled to “their place under the heavens”. The apparent dichotomy in this case between the competing right of security and the right to a decent living can only be resolved if old antagonisms are subordinated to a sense of justice and fair play. One has to find the strength to pluck from the memory rooted sorrows and to move on....

It is hoped that there will be swift action by the Government of Israel. This will go a long way to reversing the regrettable reputation which that country has for impunity and intransigence in international affairs.


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