Foreign Ministry preparing for release of Palmer Report

Officials: Report expected to uphold Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza Strip, place Ankara in negative light; ‘Mavi Marmara’ suit shelved amid fears Israel could win legal challenge, says Kuwaiti daily.

flotilla 311 (photo credit: Creative Commons)
flotilla 311
(photo credit: Creative Commons)
The Foreign Ministry is drawing up talking points and writing press releases in the run-up to Friday’s expected release of the Palmer Commission report on the Mavi Marmara incident.
The preparations follow Turkey’s rejection of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s proposal that publication of the report be postponed for another six months. Release of the report has been delayed repeatedly since May 15, when it was first scheduled to be published.
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According to Israeli officials, the Turks – in addition to demanding an apology for the incident and compensation for the families of the nine Turks killed on the ship – are also interested in seeing the report buried because it upholds Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip and places Ankara in a negative light.
What Netanyahu hoped to do by postponing publication of the report, the officials said, was to give the Turks what they wanted regarding burying the report, as well as to postpone the apology issue.
Israel has already said it would pay compensation through a fund set up by the Turkish government.
According to Israeli officials, the 102-page report comes to the following conclusions: • Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza was legal, as was the interception of vessels trying to break the blockade.
• The IHH activists behind the flotilla were looking for a violent provocation.
• Turkey had a role with the IHH in the flotilla setting sail.
• The IDF soldiers defended themselves after coming up against premeditated violence by those on the ship.
• The IDF soldiers used excessive force.
The publication of the report has been delayed for months in the hopes that Israel and Turkey could reach an amicable agreement that would obviate the need for its publication. The concern is that once the report is released – a report that calls on Israel to express “regret” for the incident, but not apologize – it will be more difficult for Israel and Turkey to reach any type of reconciliation.
Israel has already expressed regret for the loss of life in the incident.
Meanwhile, a Kuwait-based English website, Arab Times, cited on Tuesday the country’s Al-Dar daily as reporting that the Kuwaiti Justice Ministry will “shelve the case which has been filed by MP Dr. Waleed Al-Tabtabaei and others against the Israeli government for humiliating and assaulting them while they were aboard the Turkish flotilla.”
According to the report, “The ministry was preparing to file a lawsuit in international courts, but was advised by lawyers not to go ahead with the suit because Israel could win the case and Kuwait would end up paying billions of dollars in compensation because the ship had violated international law by entering the Israeli territorial waters without permission.”