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Netanyahu Says UN’s Palmer Report Exposes IHH Motives

The UN’s Palmer report proves the IHH’s flotilla last year had no humanitarian motives and that there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 9/4/2011, 9:07 AM

Terrorists on the Mavi Marmara
Terrorists on the Mavi Marmara
Flash 90

The United Nation’s Palmer report, leaked last week, exposes the IHH’s flotilla last year as having no humanitarian motives and clearly shows that there is no “humanitarian crisis” in Gaza, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s office stated Saturday night.

The report said that Israel was within its legal rights to stop the Mavi Mamara ship that carried IHH terror activists who brutally assaulted Navy commandos who boarded the ship. The Palmer report charged that the commandos used unnecessary force to defend themselves, an accusation Prime Minister Netanyahu said is wrong.

He noted, “Israeli soldiers boarded the vessels with non-lethal means and with no intention of causing any harm.  When they were brutally attacked by dozens of violent IHH activists armed with clubs, knives and steel pipes, the Israeli soldiers were forced to defend themselves.  After many soldiers were injured during the operation, nine of the IHH members who were endangering IDF soldiers were killed.

“It should be emphasized that beyond ratifying the legality of the blockade, the report determines that there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza, and that anyone interested in sending humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip must do so in coordination with Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and must transfer the aid via the land crossings.

“This naval blockade {on Hamas-controlled Gaza] was put into place to prevent the smuggling of missiles and other weapons to Hamas, a terror organization which controls Gaza and is supported by Iran. Over the last few years, Hamas has fired over 10,000 rockets and mortar shells with the objective of striking Israeli civilian targets.”

The Prime Minister also stated that the manner in which the commandos boarded the vessel was not “excessive and unreasonable,” as claimed in the Palmer report.

Joseph Ciechanover, an Israeli representative on the Palmer committee, added, “The Report rightly finding serious questions about ‘the conduct, true nature and objectives of the flotilla organizers, particularly IHH,’ notes that they planned ‘in advance to violently resist any boarding attempt’ and classifies the decision to breach the blockade of Gaza as a ‘dangerous and reckless act,’ which ‘needlessly carried the potential for escalation.’

“The Panel confirmed that video footage showed that passengers were wearing ‘bullet proof vests, and carrying metal bars, slingshots, chains and staves’ and that this information ‘supports the accounts of violence given by IDF personnel to the Israeli investigation.’

“The Panel further confirms that ‘two soldiers received gunshot wounds, three soldiers were captured, mistreated, and placed at risk’ and that ‘seven soldiers were wounded by passengers, some seriously.’”

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad expressed “deep concern” over the report Saturday night. He said that calling the naval blockade legal is “appalling” and “encourages Israel to continue to violate the rights of our Palestinian people, particularly in the Gaza Strip.”