Kia Ora Gaza disputes Palmer report on Radio NZ

4 Sep

Israeli commandos boarded the Gaza aid vessel Mavi Marmara and killed nine Turkish activists in May 2010

by Radio New Zealand

3 September 2011

Article abridged

A long-awaited United Nations report on an Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound ship says Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip was legal, but that the Jewish state used unreasonable force.

Nine Turkish humanitarian workers were killed on 31 May last year during a raid on the Mavi Marmara, the largest in a flotilla of six ships that the crew said were delivering aid to Palestinians in Gaza.

The report was prepared by a panel headed by former New Zealand prime minister Sir Geoffrey Palmer.

The report said though Israeli commandos faced “organised and violent resistance from a group of passengers” in the incident, the amount of force used by the Israelis on board the Mavi Marmara was “excessive and unreasonable.”

It says the loss of life was unacceptable and the Israeli military’s later treatment of passengers was abusive.

The report says Israel’s blockade of Gaza is legal and appropriate because it was aimed at preventing the import of weapons by sea.

Israel calls its Gaza blockade a precaution against arms reaching Hamas and other Palestinian guerrillas by sea. Palestinians and their supporters say the blockade is illegal collective punishment.

Turkey has demanded that Israel apologise for the raid, but the Israeli government has made clear it will not issue a formal apology.

A New Zealand Gaza support group, Kia Ora Gaza, says it is not happy with the report. Leader Roger Fowler disputes several of its findings, including the legitimacy of the Israeli blockade, and says the UN has kowtowed to Israel.

Kia Ora Gaza will join another Gaza aid convoy in December this year.

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