ashkenazi GOOD 311.
(photo credit: IDF Spokesperson)
A number of IDF soldiers will face criminal and disciplinary charges for misconduct during Operation Cast Lead, IDF Military Advocate-General Maj.- Gen. Avichai Mandelblit decided Tuesday, in the most comprehensive legal action taken by Israel in the wake of the Goldstone Report.
FM: Turkey chose
Turkey pulls out
of navy excercise
In the most severe case, Mandelblit decided to charge a soldier with manslaughter for allegedly shooting and killing a Palestinian woman during the operation in the Gaza Strip.
Israel has an interest in preserving its security relations with Turkey,
IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi told the Knesset’s
Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee during a Tuesday morning briefing.
Ashkenazi described the relations between the IDF and the Turkish
military as “good” and revealed to the MKs that he had personally spoken
with his Turkish counterpart in a telephone conversation following the
events of the Gaza flotilla.
The chief of staff added that the IDF’s ground forces commander,
Maj.-Gen. Sami Turgeman, had also recently met with his Turkish
counterpart during a conference in Europe. The Turkish general with whom
he spoke is slated to become the next chief of staff.
Ashkenazi told MKs that he did not believe the Turkish army was behind
the recent spate of cancellations of joint military exercises, but that
it was a policy pressed upon the army by the political leadership.
“It is important to maintain security relations with Turkey as much as
possible,” he added. “Turkey is going through changes, and we still
don’t know their exact nature.”
In previous decades, the Turkish military wielded the power behind – or
even in front of – the political scenes in Ankara. But with the ascent
of Islamicist power, the influence of the Turkish military to dictate
the country’s policies has become limited.
The IDF chief acknowledged that Turkey was far from the only source of
potential flotillas challenging Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza. A
Lebanese flotilla, involving women, members of parliament and others, is
still being organized, although it is taking longer than its
Palestinian-Lebanese sponsor wanted. Meanwhile, he said, the IDF and
Israel are trying through both open and secret channels to prevent its
“We communicated messages to the Lebanese government that it would be
responsible for that flotilla and its outcome, whatever that may be,” he
The Lebanese government, he added, also did not want to stand behind the
“We must make every effort so that flotillas will not embark,” said
“Their goal is to embarrass Israel.”
The IDF has received information that preparations are under way for
another flotilla from Libya, but that enthusiasm for a similar endeavor
in Iran has significantly cooled, Ashkenazi said. The navy’s boarding of
the Mavi Marmara, he added, had a deterrent effect, and the Israeli
decision to limit the scope of the naval blockade “increased the
legitimacy of Israel’s actions and reduced the international legitimacy
of future flotillas.”
Ashkenazi noted that there were three possible scenarios regarding the
participants in future flotillas: They could be international peace
activists, pro-Palestinian activists planning to meet forces with
violence and stiff opposition, or terrorists with suicidal intentions
planning to meet IDF forces with bomb belts and automatic weapons.
The chief of staff told MKs that in the case of the May flotilla, “we
knew that there would be violence, but not intent to kill,” and that
forensics experts were currently examining the origins of bullet casings
found on the Mavi Marmara that did not come from any of the IDF-issued
weapons used by the naval commandos.
Ashkenazi said the IDF was conducting an internal probe into the events,
in addition to the official inquiry being carried out by Maj.-Gen.
(res.) Giora Eiland. Most of the conclusions, he said, pointed to the
fact that the soldiers acted “bravely, professionally and
Nevertheless, neither Israel nor any NATO allies have yet developed a
way to stop ships at sea without causing damage to the ships themselves
or to their passengers and crews, Ashkenazi noted.