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      As Predicted, UNHRC Blames Israel in Flotilla Probe

      The UN's Human Rights Council condemns Israel in its flotilla probe. PM terms report “tendentious, distorted.”
      By Maayana Miskin
      First Publish: 9/24/2010, 11:06 AM / Last Update: 9/24/2010, 11:20 AM

      The United Nations Human Rights Council probe of the late May flotilla clash between Israel commandos and Turkish terrorists has ended, as predicted, in a report harshly condemning Israel for the incident.

      The report termed Israel's response to the attempt to defy its blockade of Hamas “disproportionate and brutal,” and suggested that Israel be prosecuted for “willful killing.” The report accused Israel of “a series of violations of international law.”

      UNHRC-appointed panel members also questioned Israel's right to impose a naval blockade on Hamas, saying residents of Hamas-controlled Gaza should be allowed to import by sea as well as by land. Israel has refused to allow imports by sea due to the lack of oversight over such imports, which could allow Hamas to import weapons.

      In May, a group of international citizens attempted to forcibly defy Israel's naval blockade on Hamas. Israeli commandos opened fire on passengers aboard one ship, the Mavi Marmara, after soldiers were stabbed, beaten, and briefly kidnapped by members of the Turkish pro-terror group IHH. Nine IHH members were killed.

      The UNHRC report was conducted independently of the main body of the UN, which is carrying out its own probe. Members of the Human Rights Council announced the probe only after releasing a resolution accusing Israel of committing an “outrageous attack.” A UN watchdog warned at the time that the probe verdict was already set.

      Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's office released a statement terming the UNHRC report “tendentious” and “distorted.” The UNHRC is a group “most of whose decisions are based on an obsessive persecution of Israel,” the statement said.

      Videos showing passengers on the Mavi Marmara ambushing IDF soldiers and violently attacking them as they came aboard are widely available for viewing, the statement noted. However, it went on, “this did not prevent the committee from ignoring the facts and drawing false, predetermined conclusions.”

      Major-General Giora Eiland, who led the IDF probe into the flotilla incident, slammed the UNHRC report as biased and flawed. He proposed that Israel prepare a legal defense detailing the events aboard the Mavi Marmara.

      Pro-Hamas activists led by former British MP George Galloway are planning to launch a large flotilla to Gaza in October. The flotilla will approach by land and by sea. IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi has warned that a clash may occur if activists try again to break the maritime blockade.