Former IDF chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi said
Monday that he hoped common sense would prevail, in response to reports
that a Turkish high criminal court had unanimously accepted an indictment
seeking life sentences for him and three others over the 2010 Mavi
Marmara raid. He also expressed hope that Turkey would reestablish
diplomatic ties with Israel.
OC Israel Navy V.-Adm. Eliezer
Marom, former Military Intelligence head
Amos Yadlin and former IAF intelligence head Brig.-Gen. Avishai Levy
were also charged in the indictment which seeks nine counts of
aggravated life imprisonment. The former IDF commander were charged over
their alleged involvement in the killing of nine Turks on a Gaza-bound
aid ship, Turkish newspaper Today's Zaman and the Andalou Agency reported Monday.
the beginning of the affair, I appeared before every forum, sometimes
on my own, to defend IDF soldiers who performed their job out in the
field on behalf of Israel," Ashkenazi said. "If the price of what I did
is not being able to visit Turkey - I am willing to pay that price."
Relations between the regional powers deteriorated sharply after Israeli commandos raided the Mavi Marmara aid
vessel in May 2010 to enforce a naval blockade of the Gaza Strip and
killed nine Turks in clashes with activists on board the ship.
expelled Israel's ambassador and froze all military cooperation after a
UN report into the incident released last September largely exonerated
the Jewish state.
On February 8, 2011, the report of Israel’s
Turkel Commission that examined the events surrounding the protest
flotilla held that “the naval blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip... was
legal pursuant to the rules of international law.”
“actions carried out by Israel on May 31, 2010, to enforce the naval
blockade had the regrettable consequences of the loss of human life and
“Nonetheless, and despite the limited
instances of uses of force for which we could not reach a conclusion,
the actions taken were found to be legal pursuant to the rules of
In September, Turkey threatened to take Israel to the International Court of Justice in The Hague over the Marmara raid.
IDF officials have said they are taking legal precautions to protect
soldiers and officers who participated in the operation to stop the Mavi Marmara.
IDF Military Advocate- General’s Office established a joint team with
the Justice Ministry to study the UN-commissioned Palmer Report,
released in September 2011, which justified Israel’s decision to impose a
sea blockade on the Gaza Strip but also criticized the navy’s operation
to stop the Gaza-bound flotilla.
The report said that “the loss
of life and injuries resulting from the use of force by Israeli forces
during the takeover of the Mavi Marmara was unacceptable.”
The team was studying the legal consequences of the report and possible ways to provide protections to IDF soldiers.
Minister Ehud Barak had tried to broker a compromise with Turkey in an
effort to minimize the legal exposure of the commandos.
Reuters, Yaakov Katz and Oren Kessler contributed to this report.