The 'Mavi Marmara' 311 (R).
(photo credit: Reuters/Emrah Dalkaya)
Even as Israel is lobbying world leaders to prevent the launch of another
flotilla to the Gaza Strip next month, Israel’s delegation to the United Nations
is scheduled Wednesday to present Jerusalem’s version of last year’s Mavi
Marmara incident to a UN probe still investigating that matter.
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Turkish delegation was to present its case on Tuesday to the committee, headed
by former New Zealand prime minister Geoffrey Palmer, and including former
Colombian president Alvaro Uribe, as well as Israeli and Turkish representatives
Joseph Ciechanover and Ozden Sanberk.
In its presentation, the Israeli
delegation is expected to lean heavily on the Turkel Commission report published
in January which found that both Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip, and
Israel’s operation on May 31 to keep the Mavi Marmara
from breaking the naval
blockade, were in accordance with international law.
The UN commission is
expected to release its findings on the incident on May 15.
In a related
development, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was quoted Monday in the
Sydney Morning Herald
as urging Israel “not to repeat the same mistake” it made
On May 31, 2010, IDF commandos boarded and stopped the Mavi
, killing eight Turkish civilians and a Turkish American after coming
“It is Israel’s responsibility not to implement [a
blockade] against Gaza,” Davutoglu said.
“In the flotilla last year,
people were killed 72 miles [116 kilometers] from the coast, so this was in
international waters. The Mediterranean does not belong to any
Israel asked the Turkish authorities earlier this month to
prevent another flotilla, originally scheduled to set sail in mid-to-late May to
mark the anniversary of the Mavi Marmara
“We can advise, we can
say something, but we cannot stop” the flotilla, Davutoglu told the Herald. He
claimed the Turkish government urged the Turkish organization IHH not to sail
last year, but “in a democratic society, we cannot stop them.”
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, meanwhile, is expected to convene a forum of senior
ministers on Wednesday to discuss the planned flotilla.
comes amid reports reaching Jerusalem that the IHH will postpone the next
flotilla until mid-to-late June, after the Turkish elections set for June 12.
With Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan playing for centrist votes in the
upcoming elections, the IHH, according to sources in Jerusalem, does not want to
do anything that could alienate those voters from Erdogan.
participating in the flotilla, according to sources in Jerusalem, are finding it
difficult raising the money needed to buy a ship to set sail.
related development, US President Barack Obama, in a phone conversation he had
with Erdogan on Monday, expressed to the Turkish prime minister – according to a
statement put out by the White House – his hope that “Turkey and Israel will
find opportunities to improve their relations in the interest of regional