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Israeli Government Criticized over Gaza Flotilla Raid

A report by Israel’s state comptroller is taking the country’s top political leaders to task over the botched May 2010 raid on a Turkish aid ship defying the naval blockade of Gaza. The incident led to the deaths of nine activists and severe injuries to several Israeli soldiers.

The New York Times highlights the major findings of the report:

In the report, the state comptroller — Micha Lindenstrauss, a retired judge — concluded that the decision-making process before the raid, under the leadership and responsibility of Mr. Netanyahu, was flawed and had “substantive and significant shortcomings.” Among them, the comptroller wrote, were a lack of orderly preparation, proper coordination or documentation. He also said warnings that the commandos could meet violent resistance on the ship went largely unheeded.

While the Lindenstrauss report carries no legal repercussions for Netanyahu, nor jeopardizes his coalition, it does call into question his judgment and leadership.

The public release of such a critical report also shows that democracy, despite the contentions of many critics, remains very healthy in Israel. Nevertheless, the raid was a major public relations disaster and continues to strain its relations with Turkey. Repairing that damage should be a high priority for Israel, although changes in Turkey mean the old love will not soon return. A pragmatic and sensible Israel-Turkish relationship, however, is a realistic goal.

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  • Jim.

    Alive and well– they’re allowing members of political / racial minorities, members of ancient Palestinian families like the Lindenstrausses, to have real power with real, immediate, and noticeable consequences over Netanyahu’s government.

    It’s just like America’s 2006/2008 judgements against GWB’s brand of Republicanism, or the 2010 rise of the TEA Party against Leftist overreach.

    Glad to see Democracy marches on, and JPost has made it clear that even if Palestinians become a majority in the Israeli population (within whatever set of borders), their editorial board would staunchly support continuing universal sufferage without question or qualification.

  • Bryan

    Jim: Netanyahu’s government is pretty popular in Israel, especially now that it at least seems like he and Kadima are going to take on the religious parties, which are wildly disliked across the non-religious political spectrum.

    Tel Avivi liberals do not constitute the entire Israeli electorate, you know.

  • Walter Sobchak
    Gaza Flotilla Sponsor Funding Al-Qaeda?
    Michael Rubin 06.15.2012

    The Turkish press is reporting that Bülent Yıldırım, the founder and president of the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), the group which sponsored the ill-fated Gaza flotilla, is under investigation for allegedly funding al-Qaeda

  • Walter Sobchak

    Not only that the substance of the report was junk, essentially that Bibi should have processed more, not that he did the wrong thing. Criticisms like that are at best disingenuous. If the Government had processed more, they might have done some smart like blowing the boat up with a 500 lbs. bomb.

    Make no mistake. The boat was a deliberate attack on Israel. Israel’s only mistake was letting the flotilla generate any PR. A 500 lbs. bomb in the middle of the night from a distance would have prevented that.

  • Kris

    “Nevertheless, the raid was a major public relations disaster and continues to strain its relations with Turkey.”

    Given that Turkey’s support for the flotilla could well be considered an act of war against Israel, this seems to confuse cause and effect.

    (By the way, it is reported that one reason for the poor Israeli preparation was that Israel believed Turkish assurances that the flotilla would not be allowed to sail.)

    Jim@1, if your comment is meant to be sarcastic, I don’t understand your point.

  • Cunctator

    And so what is the point of the report? The Palmer Commission concluded that Israel had not been in error for what is did: the heavy use of force (some deadly) was a reaction to the violent behaviour of the armed (“humanitarian”) protesors on board the ships.

    The whole thing was a set-up by Turkish groups, with the support of the governing party, and the Israelis got trapped. The incident reveals more about our supposed ally, Turkey, than it does about Israel.

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