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Israeli report on Mavi Marmara raid a 'whitewash,' Amnesty claims

ISTANBUL — Hürriyet Daily News | 1/29/2011 12:00:00 AM |

Amnesty International condemned a recent Israeli panel report on the deadly commando raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla as a 'whitewash' in a statement released Friday.

Amnesty International condemned a recent Israeli panel report on the deadly commando raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla as a "whitewash" in a statement released Friday.

The Turkel Commission on Jan. 23 released a report clearing the Israeli military and government of any wrongdoing in the May 31 attack onboard the Turkish Mavi Marmara aid ship that left eight Turks and one American of Turkish descent dead. Both soldiers and activists involved in the raid have said they acted in self-defense.

Amnesty criticized the commission's findings for being inconclusive and for excluding details linking the soldiers' actions to the activists' deaths.

"Despite being nearly 300 pages long, the report crucially fails to explain how the activists died and what conclusions the Commission reached regarding the IDF’s specific actions in each case," the Amnesty statement reads.

Full text
Amnesty International's statement
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The Turkel Commission's report
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The UN Human Rights Council's report
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"The Commission’s failure to account for the deaths reinforces the view that the Israeli authorities are unwilling or incapable of delivering accountability for abuses of international law committed by Israeli forces."

The Turkel Commission's conclusions "sharply contrast" those of the fact-finding mission appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council, Amnesty said.

The U.N. council's report, released in September, concluded that the Israeli soldiers' use of force was "unnecessary, disproportionate, excessive and inappropriate and resulted in the wholly avoidable killing and maiming of a large number of civilian passengers."

Turkey also released a draft of its internal report Monday to the semi-official Anatolia news agency, which reported that the document alleges two civilians were killed by Israeli commandos before boarding the Mavi Marmara from helicopters. The report was not released to the public.

A United Nations commission set up to investigate the incident is expected to complete its work in February after both sides submit their final reports.

The May raid damaged already strained relations with Turkey, formerly one of Israel's closest allies. Turkey recalled its ambassador to Israel and is demanding an apology and compensation for the victims before ties can return to normal.

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