Shameless stonewalling

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators wave Turkish and Palestinian flags during a protest in Ankara

Attempting by all means, even fabrication, to deflect criticism, Israel is pouring fuel on the fire for its detractors, writes Khalid Amayreh in occupied Jerusalem

Undeterred by international criticism over its bloody raid on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in international waters in the Eastern Mediterranean on 31 May, the Israeli government has rejected calls for an independent, neutral and third party investigation into the “Flotilla massacre”.

Instead, Israeli leaders said the Jewish state might conduct its own “internal investigation” aided by two international jurists who would have to be selected by Israel.

Critics readily scoffed at the concept of an internal investigation by the Israeli army, with some arguing that such an investigation amounts to allowing the accused to investigate his own crime .

Israeli Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi reportedly appointed a high-ranking army chief to head the probe.

However, even in Israel, many circles are viewing these efforts as attempts to dilute the issue and eventually consign it to oblivion, as happened many times previously.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has already rejected the Israeli “trick”, urging Israel to conduct a genuine inquiry, “if it has nothing to hide”.

“I don’t know why they are refusing to conduct a genuine and thorough investigation. It means they might have something to hide,” Davutoglu told reporters in Ankara this week. Turkey, which hosted a summit for a 20-member security group from the Asian region this week, condemned Israel for its raid that killed at least nine Turkish citizens aboard the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. Turkey also said it would reduce military and trade ties with Israel and shelve discussion on energy projects, including natural gas and fresh water shipments. It also threatened to cut all ties unless Israel apologised for the raid last week.

Turkey is assuming the presidency of the Asian security group and is expected to use the platform to draw attention to the plight of Palestinians. Iraq and Vietnam will become new members of the conference on Tuesday morning, before world leaders convene.

Realising that an Israeli army investigation of its own wrongdoings won’t be credible in the eyes of the world, Israeli officials hinted that Israel was coordinating with the Obama administration to form a separate and more credible investigating body that would look into the circumstances surrounding the flotilla carnage.

The Israeli media quoted a “senior source” as saying that the investigating panel would be comprised of top jurists with experience in international maritime law. Two international jurists — at least one of which American — would be invited to participate as observers, the sources said.

According to Israeli sources, the Israeli government hopes that the outcome of the panel would be favourable to Israel; namely that the raid on the civilian flotilla carrying humanitarian aid to the blockaded Gaza Strip was justified “given the state of war between Israel and Hamas”.

Earlier, the United States, Israel’s guardian ally, which carefully avoided criticising Israel over the murderous raid, proposed the formation of a tripartite committee comprising representatives of Israel, the US, and Turkey, along with one or two other states, to investigate the incident. However, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials have politely refused the American proposal, arguing that Israel has the right to investigate itself.

Nonetheless, it is widely expected that the proposal will be further discussed between the Obama administration and Israel. The US, refusing to pass judgement on the latest Israeli crime, probably for fear of the powerful Jewish lobby, said it hopes that “something positive will come out of this incident”.

Meanwhile, Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak, who ordered the Israeli navy to attack the civilian ships, ruled out a comprehensive investigation. Barak said that any independent investigation comprising “third parties” would have to go hand-in- hand with the Israeli army inquiry.

“We will learn lessons at the political level [and] in the defence establishment. Since the incident, we have heard and read mountains of statements and questions, and without a doubt in the coming months we will discuss the lessons… Perhaps additional ways to achieve the goals of the blockade by reducing the potential for friction as far as possible [will emerge].”

PURE LIES: There is a widespread impression — at least in the Arab-Muslim world — that Israel is trying to whitewash the crime. Soon after the incident, Israel launched a vociferous campaign of disinformation aimed at damage control. The Israeli media has admitted that some video clips showing Israeli soldiers supposedly aboard the Mavi Marmara were fabricated. Israel also released numerous “testimonies” by “witnesses” who are actually Israeli soldiers, corroborating the official Israeli narrative.

The Israeli propaganda campaign quoted Israeli officials as claiming that the aid activists were “terrorists”, “members of Hamas,” and “activists affiliated with Al-Qaeda”.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, 6 June, the Israeli army admitted in a press release that it doctored audio footage from its exchanges with the Gaza flotilla in order to depict flotilla passengers as anti- Semites. During radio transmission between flotilla ships and the Israeli navy on 31 May, the Israeli navy attempts to make contact with an undefined ship. At some point during the radio exchange the Israeli navy is told by one of the ships to “shut up, go back to Auschwitz” and “don’t forget 9/11”.

According to the captain of one of the flotilla ships, Denis Healey, a man with 25 years of sea experience, there is no way that anyone could communicate without the entire fleet hearing the exchange. “There was no exchange like this by anyone on any boat during the entire time I was piloting the boat,” he said.

Israel is once again caught trying desperately to defend itself for cold-blooded murder by lying.

In another scandalous act of hasbara propaganda, the Israeli government was forced this week to apologise for circulating a spoof video mocking and ridiculing aid activists aboard the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. The YouTube clip features several Israelis dressed as Arabs and activists, waving weapons while singing “we con the world, we con the people. We’ll make them all believe the IDF is Jack the Ripper.”

The clip continues: “There are no people dying, so the best that we can do is create the biggest bluff of all.”

According to health sources in the Gaza Strip, as many as 500 Gazans — including numerous children — have died as a result of the blockade Israel has been imposing on the coastal enclave for the fourth successive year. Israel had calculated that the harsh blockade of Gaza would force the people to rise up against Hamas, replacing it with the more moderate Palestinian Authority (PA) dominated by Fatah.

Israel believes that the PA is more amenable to giving concessions to Israel on fundamental issues, such as the final status of Jerusalem and the refugees.

Given Israel’s failure to unseat Hamas, it seems the US, EU, and some regional players are seeking an alternative policy that would partially lift the siege on Gaza while meeting Israeli security requirements.

US Vice-President Joe Biden reportedly discussed these and other ideas with President Hosni Mubarak in Sharm El-Sheikh Monday. Biden’s talks with Mubarak coincided with a marked relaxation of Egyptian restrictions on the transfer of goods to and from Gaza via the Rafah crossing.

Written FOR


  1. Tim said,

    June 12, 2010 at 18:29

    “…According to health sources in the Gaza Strip, as many as 500 Gazans — including numerous children — have died as a result of the blockade Israel has been imposing on the coastal enclave for the fourth successive year….”

    This should be viewed as terrrorism. Blockading a country or area thereby causing death is no different that actually shooting someone thereby causing death.

  2. June 13, 2010 at 02:57

    […] ISRAEL; FEEDING THE FIRES OF DECEPTION « Desertpeace. June 12th, 2010 | Category: Uncategorized | Comments are closed | […]

  3. mike said,

    June 13, 2010 at 03:21

    We don’t need an investigation,The whole world can see them for what they are.For the first time I’m starting to feel optimistic for the future of Palestine.

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