Palmer Report Did Not Find Gaza Blockade Legal, Despite Media Headlines

gaza turkey flotillaThe media has gone crazy these past couple of days announcing that the UN-appointed panel of inquiry into the flotilla raid last summer, known as the Palmer Commission, found that the Israeli imposed blockade on Gaza is legal and that Israel used excessive force during the raid.

From the Jerusalem Post to the BBC, headlines scream that Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip is legal.  This is not only completely false, it distracts from the main point of the inquiry which was to determine if excessive use of force was used by Israeli forces during the raid on the flotilla in international waters and how to avoid a similar incident like this from happening again.

The contents of the Palmer Report were made public Thursday by the New York Times.  The report itself, which was completed last February, was being delayed at the UN while Turkey and Israel negotiated over language and played behind-the-scenes politics.

Sadly, the report does not spend a lot of time on the victims or accountability for the wrong-doing, although it states,

“Forensic evidence showing that most of the deceased were shot multiple times, including in the back, or at close range has not been adequately accounted for in the material presented by Israel.”

And critically notes that Israel’s treatment of the passengers, “included physical mistreatment, harassment and intimidation, unjustified confiscation of belongings and the denial of timely consular assistance,” while acknowledging that once the commandos were on board, they faced violent resistance and felt forced to defend themselves.

The report also found the naval blockade of Gaza by Israel legal.

As the occupying power over the Gaza Strip, Israel has the right to determine where and how goods and people should enter the territory it occupies so the maritime blockade as a tactic is legal.  The report did not make a ruling on the entire closure regime or blockade on the Gaza strip.

The Palmer report’s finding that the naval blockade is lawful should NOT be interpreted to mean that the entire closure regime imposed by Israel on the Gaza Strip is legal.  An excellent analysis of this can be found on the ‘Gisha - Legal Center for Freedom of Movement’ website.

Gisha even goes one step farther to argue that the maritime blockade should actually be found to be illegal.  In a Q&A they put together, they argue that when taken into context with the full blockade on Gaza and Israel’s failure to adhere to international law and legal obligations as an occupying power – then the maritime closure is actually illegal:

“By preventing the passage of civilians and goods of a civilian nature to and from the Gaza Strip, Israel has paralyzed the economy of the area and caused substantial damage to key aspects of civilian life. In so doing, it has violated its obligations under international law, rendering its policy of closure – including the maritime closure – unlawful.”

Amnesty also believes the entire closure regime (blockade) on Gaza is illegal.  It is a form of collective punishment which breaches international law.  Amnesty pointed out in a public statement released Friday, that the best way to avoid similar incidents like this one in the future is for Israel to fully and immediately lift the blockade imposed on Gaza since June 2007, and allow Gazans to rebuild the homes, schools, clinics and infrastructure destroyed by the Israeli military.

Update: Gisha, the Legal Center on Freedom of Movement, a highly respected Israeli organization that concentrates much of its work on the Gaza Strip, just issued a short, concise statement called ‘Myths and Facts on the Palmer Report‘. This document clarifies many of the misconceptions about the Palmer Report created by confusing media reports and misconceptions about the Israeli imposed closure regime on the Gaza Strip.

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100 thoughts on “Palmer Report Did Not Find Gaza Blockade Legal, Despite Media Headlines

  1. Edith:

    Are you clinically incapable of ever mentioning that Gaza also has a twenty kilometer long border with Egypt and Egypt, even after its so-called revolution, is as much or more a party to the blockade on Gaza than Israel is? Why do you always attempt to cover this fact up ? Why do you always need to be reluctantly prodded into acknowledging this fact?

    You constantly practice a willful suppression of the whole truth by forgetting to mention another nation besides Israel is blockading Gaza, that nation being Egypt. Yes, I am accusing you of attempting to deceive the readers of this blog with this cover up of Egypt's starring role in Gaza's blockade.

    Here are the facts. This is objective reality Edie and if you need twenty references from the New York Times, Al Jezeera, the UN etc. backing up everything I will be happy to post them.

    Israel permits all goods into Gaza through its blockade, so all manner of food medicine of course, but also consumer goods, industrial, agricultural and infrastructure supplies, in fact everything except for a small list of militarily useful things like reinforced concrete. Even concrete is imported to Gaza from Israel with UN guarantees it wont be stolen by Hamas to build bunkers. Up to 300 to 400 heavy transport trucks a day of goods enter Gaza from Israel in addition 80% of Gaza's electricity coming be direct connection to the Israeli power grid and all Gaza's fuel coming from pipelines connected to Israel. In fact, far from being in need of more civilian imports through the weapons blockade, Gaza has large agricultural surpluses they desperately want to export to help revive their economy.

    Egypt on the other hand forbids all goods to be imported into Gaza, so not a drop of baby formula, not cancer medication, nothing. The only thing that moves across the Gaza Egypt border are the lucky few pedestrians who manage to bribe their way to a rare and expensive Hamas exit visas and even more expensive Egyptian entrance visas. That is it. A few Palestinian pedestrians a day and no goods. Nada, Zilch.

    Why does Egypt not open its border to regular import and god forbid export from Gaza? Why? And by the way your standard excuse that there are not adequate facilities on the Egyptian border is a ridiculous and silly thing to say, something a person grasping at straws would come up with.

    Fact is they need very little in the way of facilities to permit trucks to cross the border to and from Gaza to the modern deep water El Arish container port in Egypt, only 15 minutes from Gaza. The Kerem Shalom border crossing from Israel to Gaza is massive and complicated because Hamas has repeatedly attacked it with suicide bombers so there is lots of security. Presumable Hamas will not attack the Gaza Egyptian border crossing like it does regularly to the Israeli crossing so therefore the Egypt crossing does not need to be a complicated massive affair. A simple area to inspect trucks for weapons and contraband before allowing the trucks to pass over the border into Gaza is all that is needed on the Egypt side and this could be constructed in about 3 days. The same kind of simple border crossing exactly like those hundreds dotting across the US Mexico border is all Gaza needs on the Egyptian border and the bonus being only 15 minutes south of Gaza is the large Egyptian port of El Arish.

    So please spare us your standard " the Egypt border is not suitable" rebuttal. Because this really is nonsensical nonsense Edie. You know it and I know it and everyone else knows it.

    it is just a very lame excuse you came up with to hypocritically justify the Egyptian blockade on Gaza while at the same time trying to portray the completely legal and morally justified attempt by Israel to protect its Israeli civilians from war crimes of random rocket fire by interdicting the flow of arms to its self declared enemy Hamas, especially as these weapons mainly come from Iran.

    And please tell me one other thing Edie, since we are on the topic of "collective punishment". Do you think it is not fair to describe the illegal war crime of shooting of tens of thousands of randomly aimed rockets onto the heads of hundreds of thousands of Israeli civilian women and children to be "collective punishment"?

    Why exactly Edie? Tell me why exactly Israel does not have the legal and moral right to prevent weapons reaching its war criminal enemy Hamas who illegally shoots them at unarmed innocent Israeli civilians. Every other country on earth would protect its own civilians from attack. This is a fundamental right of all nations to self defense and is guarantied in the UN Charter.
    Just not for Israel out of all the nations of the earth?
    Is that what you are saying Edie? That Israel and Israel alone does not have the right to self defense out of all nations on earth?

    Edie: Thank you for answering my questions.

    PS.
    By the way here is a good report from Al Jezeera you might enjoy on the hundreds of millions of dollars a year in profiteering Hamas and others are making off the smuggling trade that exists only due to the blockade.

    Jul 5, 2011 Al Jazeera’s Nicole Johnston reports from Gaza
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLHzL3mRP7g

    " It’s been five years since Egypt and Israel imposed a blockade on Gaza – a siege that was aimed at weakening Hamas, which controls the Strip. But an underground world of smuggling tunnels, and the subsequent taxes imposed by Hamas, has actually helped strengthen the group. While Israel’s blockade has generally hurt the economy in Gaza, the tunnels have made their owners and Hamas a lot of money."

  2. Edith:

    Are you clinically incapable of ever mentioning that Gaza also has a twenty kilometer long border with Egypt and Egypt, even after its so-called revolution, is as much or more a party to the blockade on Gaza than Israel is? Why do you always attempt to cover this fact up ? Why do you always need to be reluctantly prodded into acknowledging this fact?

    You constantly practice a willful suppression of the whole truth by forgetting to mention another nation besides Israel is blockading Gaza, that nation being Egypt. Yes, I am accusing you of attempting to deceive the readers of this blog with this cover up of Egypt's starring role in Gaza's blockade.

    Here are the facts. This is objective reality Edie and if you need twenty references from the New York Times, Al Jezeera, the UN etc. backing up everything I will be happy to post them.

    Israel permits all goods into Gaza through its blockade, so all manner of food medicine of course, but also consumer goods, industrial, agricultural and infrastructure supplies, in fact everything except for a small list of militarily useful things like reinforced concrete. Even concrete is imported to Gaza from Israel with UN guarantees it wont be stolen by Hamas to build bunkers. Up to 300 to 400 heavy transport trucks a day of goods enter Gaza from Israel in addition 80% of Gaza's electricity coming be direct connection to the Israeli power grid and all Gaza's fuel coming from pipelines connected to Israel. In fact, far from being in need of more civilian imports through the weapons blockade, Gaza has large agricultural surpluses they desperately want to export to help revive their economy.

    Egypt on the other hand forbids all goods to be imported into Gaza, so not a drop of baby formula, not cancer medication, nothing. The only thing that moves across the Gaza Egypt border are the lucky few pedestrians who manage to bribe their way to a rare and expensive Hamas exit visas and even more expensive Egyptian entrance visas. That is it. A few Palestinian pedestrians a day and no goods. Nada, Zilch.

    Why does Egypt not open its border to regular import and god forbid export from Gaza? Why? And by the way your standard excuse that there are not adequate facilities on the Egyptian border is a ridiculous and silly thing to say, something a person grasping at straws would come up with.

    Fact is they need very little in the way of facilities to permit trucks to cross the border to and from Gaza to the modern deep water El Arish container port in Egypt, only 15 minutes from Gaza. The Kerem Shalom border crossing from Israel to Gaza is massive and complicated because Hamas has repeatedly attacked it with suicide bombers so there is lots of security. Presumable Hamas will not attack the Gaza Egyptian border crossing like it does regularly to the Israeli crossing so therefore the Egypt crossing does not need to be a complicated massive affair. A simple area to inspect trucks for weapons and contraband before allowing the trucks to pass over the border into Gaza is all that is needed on the Egypt side and this could be constructed in about 3 days. The same kind of simple border crossing exactly like those hundreds dotting across the US Mexico border is all Gaza needs on the Egyptian border and the bonus being only 15 minutes south of Gaza is the large Egyptian port of El Arish.

    So please spare us your standard " the Egypt border is not suitable" rebuttal. Because this really is nonsensical nonsense Edie. You know it and I know it and everyone else knows it.

    it is just a very lame excuse you came up with to hypocritically justify the Egyptian blockade on Gaza while at the same time trying to portray the completely legal and morally justified attempt by Israel to protect its Israeli civilians from war crimes of random rocket fire by interdicting the flow of arms to its self declared enemy Hamas, especially as these weapons mainly come from Iran.

    And please tell me one other thing Edie, since we are on the topic of "collective punishment". Do you think it is not fair to describe the illegal war crime of shooting of tens of thousands of randomly aimed rockets onto the heads of hundreds of thousands of Israeli civilian women and children to be "collective punishment"?

    Why exactly Edie? Tell me why exactly Israel does not have the legal and moral right to prevent weapons reaching its war criminal enemy Hamas who illegally shoots them at unarmed innocent Israeli civilians. Every other country on earth would protect its own civilians from attack. This is a fundamental right of all nations to self defense and is guarantied in the UN Charter.
    Just not for Israel out of all the nations of the earth?
    Is that what you are saying Edie? That Israel and Israel alone does not have the right to self defense out of all nations on earth?

    Edie: Thank you for answering my questions.

    PS.
    By the way here is a good report from Al Jezeera you might enjoy on the hundreds of millions of dollars a year in profiteering Hamas and others are making off the smuggling trade that exists only due to the blockade.

    Jul 5, 2011 Al Jazeera’s Nicole Johnston reports from Gaza
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLHzL3mRP7g

    " It’s been five years since Egypt and Israel imposed a blockade on Gaza – a siege that was aimed at weakening Hamas, which controls the Strip. But an underground world of smuggling tunnels, and the subsequent taxes imposed by Hamas, has actually helped strengthen the group. While Israel’s blockade has generally hurt the economy in Gaza, the tunnels have made their owners and Hamas a lot of money."

  3. Edith:

    Are you clinically incapable of ever mentioning that Gaza also has a twenty kilometer long border with Egypt and Egypt, even after its so-called revolution, is as much or more a party to the blockade on Gaza than Israel is? Why do you always attempt to cover this fact up ? Why do you always need to be reluctantly prodded into acknowledging this fact?

    You constantly practice a willful suppression of the whole truth by forgetting to mention another nation besides Israel is blockading Gaza, that nation being Egypt. Yes, I am accusing you of attempting to deceive the readers of this blog with this cover up of Egypt's starring role in Gaza's blockade.

    Here are the facts. This is objective reality Edie and if you need twenty references from the New York Times, Al Jezeera, the UN etc. backing up everything I will be happy to post them.

    Israel permits all goods into Gaza through its blockade, so all manner of food medicine of course, but also consumer goods, industrial, agricultural and infrastructure supplies, in fact everything except for a small list of militarily useful things like reinforced concrete. Even concrete is imported to Gaza from Israel with UN guarantees it wont be stolen by Hamas to build bunkers. Up to 300 to 400 heavy transport trucks a day of goods enter Gaza from Israel in addition 80% of Gaza's electricity coming be direct connection to the Israeli power grid and all Gaza's fuel coming from pipelines connected to Israel. In fact, far from being in need of more civilian imports through the weapons blockade, Gaza has large agricultural surpluses they desperately want to export to help revive their economy.

    Egypt on the other hand forbids all goods to be imported into Gaza, so not a drop of baby formula, not cancer medication, nothing. The only thing that moves across the Gaza Egypt border are the lucky few pedestrians who manage to bribe their way to a rare and expensive Hamas exit visas and even more expensive Egyptian entrance visas. That is it. A few Palestinian pedestrians a day and no goods. Nada, Zilch.

    Why does Egypt not open its border to regular import and god forbid export from Gaza? Why? And by the way your standard excuse that there are not adequate facilities on the Egyptian border is a ridiculous and silly thing to say, something a person grasping at straws would come up with.

    Fact is they need very little in the way of facilities to permit trucks to cross the border to and from Gaza to the modern deep water El Arish container port in Egypt, only 15 minutes from Gaza. The Kerem Shalom border crossing from Israel to Gaza is massive and complicated because Hamas has repeatedly attacked it with suicide bombers so there is lots of security. Presumable Hamas will not attack the Gaza Egyptian border crossing like it does regularly to the Israeli crossing so therefore the Egypt crossing does not need to be a complicated massive affair. A simple area to inspect trucks for weapons and contraband before allowing the trucks to pass over the border into Gaza is all that is needed on the Egypt side and this could be constructed in about 3 days. The same kind of simple border crossing exactly like those hundreds dotting across the US Mexico border is all Gaza needs on the Egyptian border and the bonus being only 15 minutes south of Gaza is the large Egyptian port of El Arish.

    So please spare us your standard " the Egypt border is not suitable" rebuttal. Because this really is nonsensical nonsense Edie. You know it and I know it and everyone else knows it.

    it is just a very lame excuse you came up with to hypocritically justify the Egyptian blockade on Gaza while at the same time trying to portray the completely legal and morally justified attempt by Israel to protect its Israeli civilians from war crimes of random rocket fire by interdicting the flow of arms to its self declared enemy Hamas, especially as these weapons mainly come from Iran.

    And please tell me one other thing Edie, since we are on the topic of "collective punishment". Do you think it is not fair to describe the illegal war crime of shooting of tens of thousands of randomly aimed rockets onto the heads of hundreds of thousands of Israeli civilian women and children to be "collective punishment"?

    Why exactly Edie? Tell me why exactly Israel does not have the legal and moral right to prevent weapons reaching its war criminal enemy Hamas who illegally shoots them at unarmed innocent Israeli civilians. Every other country on earth would protect its own civilians from attack. This is a fundamental right of all nations to self defense and is guarantied in the UN Charter.
    Just not for Israel out of all the nations of the earth?
    Is that what you are saying Edie? That Israel and Israel alone does not have the right to self defense out of all nations on earth?

    Edie: Thank you for answering my questions.

    PS.
    By the way here is a good report from Al Jezeera you might enjoy on the hundreds of millions of dollars a year in profiteering Hamas and others are making off the smuggling trade that exists only due to the blockade.

    Jul 5, 2011 Al Jazeera’s Nicole Johnston reports from Gaza
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLHzL3mRP7g

    " It’s been five years since Egypt and Israel imposed a blockade on Gaza – a siege that was aimed at weakening Hamas, which controls the Strip. But an underground world of smuggling tunnels, and the subsequent taxes imposed by Hamas, has actually helped strengthen the group. While Israel’s blockade has generally hurt the economy in Gaza, the tunnels have made their owners and Hamas a lot of money."

  4. Is this written in an intentionally confusing way? To say that the naval blockade was ruled to be legal and that this is no way means that the blockade was ruled to be legal really needs a whole more explication. The presumption seems to be that this must make the non-naval part of the blockade illegal … but you do not spell out a case for this AND you directly argue that "Israel has the right to determine where and how goods and people should enter the territory it occupies."

    I look for a much higher standard from Amnesty International when it comes to explaining the intricacies of international law and its relation to human rights and intra- and inter-state conflict.

    I've written a short "reply" blog post that highlights where I think you've gone wrong here: http://kohenari.net/post/9883366579

  5. Is this written in an intentionally confusing way? To say that the naval blockade was ruled to be legal and that this is no way means that the blockade was ruled to be legal really needs a whole more explication. The presumption seems to be that this must make the non-naval part of the blockade illegal … but you do not spell out a case for this AND you directly argue that "Israel has the right to determine where and how goods and people should enter the territory it occupies."

    I look for a much higher standard from Amnesty International when it comes to explaining the intricacies of international law and its relation to human rights and intra- and inter-state conflict.

    I've written a short "reply" blog post that highlights where I think you've gone wrong here: http://kohenari.net/post/9883366579

  6. Is this written in an intentionally confusing way? To say that the naval blockade was ruled to be legal and that this is no way means that the blockade was ruled to be legal really needs a whole more explication. The presumption seems to be that this must make the non-naval part of the blockade illegal … but you do not spell out a case for this AND you directly argue that "Israel has the right to determine where and how goods and people should enter the territory it occupies."

    I look for a much higher standard from Amnesty International when it comes to explaining the intricacies of international law and its relation to human rights and intra- and inter-state conflict.

    I've written a short "reply" blog post that highlights where I think you've gone wrong here: http://kohenari.net/post/9883366579

  7. Edith:

    Are you clinically incapable of ever mentioning that Gaza also has a twenty kilometer long border with Egypt and Egypt, even after its so-called revolution, is as much or more a party to the blockade on Gaza than Israel is? Why do you always attempt to cover this fact up ? Why do you always need to be reluctantly prodded into acknowledging this fact?

    You constantly practice a willful suppression of the whole truth by forgetting to mention another nation besides Israel is blockading Gaza, that nation being Egypt. Yes, I am accusing you of attempting to deceive the readers of this blog with this cover up of Egypt’s starring role in Gaza’s blockade.

    Here are the facts. This is objective reality Edie and if you need twenty references from the New York Times, Al Jezeera, the UN etc. backing up everything I will be happy to post them.

    Israel permits all goods into Gaza through its blockade, so all manner of food medicine of course, but also consumer goods, industrial, agricultural and infrastructure supplies, in fact everything except for a small list of militarily useful things like reinforced concrete. Even concrete is imported to Gaza from Israel with UN guarantees it wont be stolen by Hamas to build bunkers. Up to 300 to 400 heavy transport trucks a day of goods enter Gaza from Israel in addition 80% of Gaza’s electricity coming be direct connection to the Israeli power grid and all Gaza’s fuel coming from pipelines connected to Israel. In fact, far from being in need of more civilian imports through the weapons blockade, Gaza has large agricultural surpluses they desperately want to export to help revive their economy.

    Egypt on the other hand forbids all goods to be imported into Gaza, so not a drop of baby formula, not cancer medication, nothing. The only thing that moves across the Gaza Egypt border are the lucky few pedestrians who manage to bribe their way to a rare and expensive Hamas exit visas and even more expensive Egyptian entrance visas. That is it. A few Palestinian pedestrians a day and no goods. Nada, Zilch.

    Why does Egypt not open its border to regular import and god forbid export from Gaza? Why? And by the way your standard excuse that there are not adequate facilities on the Egyptian border is a ridiculous and silly thing to say, something a person grasping at straws would come up with.

    Fact is they need very little in the way of facilities to permit trucks to cross the border to and from Gaza to the modern deep water El Arish container port in Egypt, only 15 minutes from Gaza. The Kerem Shalom border crossing from Israel to Gaza is massive and complicated because Hamas has repeatedly attacked it with suicide bombers so there is lots of security. Presumable Hamas will not attack the Gaza Egyptian border crossing like it does regularly to the Israeli crossing so therefore the Egypt crossing does not need to be a complicated massive affair. A simple area to inspect trucks for weapons and contraband before allowing the trucks to pass over the border into Gaza is all that is needed on the Egypt side and this could be constructed in about 3 days. The same kind of simple border crossing exactly like those hundreds dotting across the US Mexico border is all Gaza needs on the Egyptian border and the bonus being only 15 minutes south of Gaza is the large Egyptian port of El Arish.

    So please spare us your standard ” the Egypt border is not suitable” rebuttal. Because this really is nonsensical nonsense Edie. You know it and I know it and everyone else knows it.

    it is just a very lame excuse you came up with to hypocritically justify the Egyptian blockade on Gaza while at the same time trying to portray the completely legal and morally justified attempt by Israel to protect its Israeli civilians from war crimes of random rocket fire by interdicting the flow of arms to its self declared enemy Hamas, especially as these weapons mainly come from Iran.

    And please tell me one other thing Edie, since we are on the topic of “collective punishment”. Do you think it is not fair to describe the illegal war crime of shooting of tens of thousands of randomly aimed rockets onto the heads of hundreds of thousands of Israeli civilian women and children to be “collective punishment”?

    Why exactly Edie? Tell me why exactly Israel does not have the legal and moral right to prevent weapons reaching its war criminal enemy Hamas who illegally shoots them at unarmed innocent Israeli civilians. Every other country on earth would protect its own civilians from attack. This is a fundamental right of all nations to self defense and is guarantied in the UN Charter.
    Just not for Israel out of all the nations of the earth?
    Is that what you are saying Edie? That Israel and Israel alone does not have the right to self defense out of all nations on earth?

    Edie: Thank you for answering my questions.

    PS.
    By the way here is a good report from Al Jezeera you might enjoy on the hundreds of millions of dollars a year in profiteering Hamas and others are making off the smuggling trade that exists only due to the blockade.

    Jul 5, 2011 Al Jazeera’s Nicole Johnston reports from Gaza

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLHzL3mRP7g

    ” It’s been five years since Egypt and Israel imposed a blockade on Gaza – a siege that was aimed at weakening Hamas, which controls the Strip. But an underground world of smuggling tunnels, and the subsequent taxes imposed by Hamas, has actually helped strengthen the group. While Israel’s blockade has generally hurt the economy in Gaza, the tunnels have made their owners and Hamas a lot of money.”

  8. Judo,

    Legally, the ultimate responsibility of lifting the blockade lies with Israel – the occupying power and party who imposed and is enforcing the blockade. Since Israel is the appropriate party to address then, Amnesty addresses its concerns with the blockade to Israel.

    Egypt is indeed located next to the Gaza Strip but as a sovereign nation with no legal responsibility over the Gaza Strip, unlike Israel, we do not address our concerns about the blockade to Egypt. Egypt has the right to control it's borders in accordance with the law, adhering to internationally recognized humanitarian standards just like other countries. Amnesty HAS, in the past, addressed our concerns in regards to the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt to Egypt concerning matters of this nature.

    Since this blog post is about the legality of the Israeli imposed blockade on the Gaza Strip and the Israeli interception of the flotilla in 2010, Egypt did not come into the picture.

    Since Israel eased the restrictions on consumer goods last summer, you are correct that there are more consumer goods available and that some quantities of supplies and equipment for industry, agriculture and infrastructure maintenance and repair has been allowed to enter. But as mentioned before and as documented by different NGO’s, the quantities allowed in have been nowhere near what is required to recover from the de-development that has been forced to happen over the years and after the devastating bombardment of two years ago.

    Also, Israel requires all goods to enter through crossings directly controlled by them. It is highly misleading to twist this fact to say that Egypt ‘forbids’ goods from entering through the Rafah crossing. And in addition to the fact that Egypt does not have a legal obligation to meet the needs of those living in Gaza (like Israel which as the occupying power does), one crossing would be hard pressed to handle the massive amounts of goods required to service the 1.6 million currently living in Gaza and provide what’s needed to recover and rebuild after years of deprivation and conflict.

    re: rockets – Amnesty International has consistently condemned the firing of indiscriminate rockets into southern Israel and considers it a war crime. Also, Amnesty has never said that Israel does not have the right to ‘prevent weapons’ from entering Gaza. The current blockade does much more than simply ‘prevent weapons’ from entering the strip, but collectively punishes everyone living there. Israeli leaders have also publicly stated that the purpose of the blockade is to apply pressure on the populace which is clearly collective punishment. Collective punishment or punishing those who are not involved in any offense, to apply political pressure or as a punitive measure contravenes international law – thus making the blockade illegal.

    You appear to believe that somehow Amnesty is picking on Israel unfairly, yet if you take a look at our website at http://www.amnestyusa.org or the international site at http://www.amnesty.org, you’ll see Amnesty advocating for human rights around the world regardless of political system or regime. We do not tell ANY country that they do not have the right to self-defense, but we do remind them that as they do so – they are obligated to follow recognized rules of war and not violate the human rights of others through indiscriminate or unjust policies.

    And thank you for the link to the Al Jazeera article. Interesting. Although this is one more argument to lift the blockade. The blockade is NOT harming Hamas, but aiding them to profit from it as it continues to harm the innocent civilians caught in the middle.

  9. Judo,

    Legally, the ultimate responsibility of lifting the blockade lies with Israel – the occupying power and party who imposed and is enforcing the blockade. Since Israel is the appropriate party to address then, Amnesty addresses its concerns with the blockade to Israel.

    Egypt is indeed located next to the Gaza Strip but as a sovereign nation with no legal responsibility over the Gaza Strip, unlike Israel, we do not address our concerns about the blockade to Egypt. Egypt has the right to control it's borders in accordance with the law, adhering to internationally recognized humanitarian standards just like other countries. Amnesty HAS, in the past, addressed our concerns in regards to the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt to Egypt concerning matters of this nature.

    Since this blog post is about the legality of the Israeli imposed blockade on the Gaza Strip and the Israeli interception of the flotilla in 2010, Egypt did not come into the picture.

    Since Israel eased the restrictions on consumer goods last summer, you are correct that there are more consumer goods available and that some quantities of supplies and equipment for industry, agriculture and infrastructure maintenance and repair has been allowed to enter. But as mentioned before and as documented by different NGO’s, the quantities allowed in have been nowhere near what is required to recover from the de-development that has been forced to happen over the years and after the devastating bombardment of two years ago.

    Also, Israel requires all goods to enter through crossings directly controlled by them. It is highly misleading to twist this fact to say that Egypt ‘forbids’ goods from entering through the Rafah crossing. And in addition to the fact that Egypt does not have a legal obligation to meet the needs of those living in Gaza (like Israel which as the occupying power does), one crossing would be hard pressed to handle the massive amounts of goods required to service the 1.6 million currently living in Gaza and provide what’s needed to recover and rebuild after years of deprivation and conflict.

    re: rockets – Amnesty International has consistently condemned the firing of indiscriminate rockets into southern Israel and considers it a war crime. Also, Amnesty has never said that Israel does not have the right to ‘prevent weapons’ from entering Gaza. The current blockade does much more than simply ‘prevent weapons’ from entering the strip, but collectively punishes everyone living there. Israeli leaders have also publicly stated that the purpose of the blockade is to apply pressure on the populace which is clearly collective punishment. Collective punishment or punishing those who are not involved in any offense, to apply political pressure or as a punitive measure contravenes international law – thus making the blockade illegal.

    You appear to believe that somehow Amnesty is picking on Israel unfairly, yet if you take a look at our website at http://www.amnestyusa.org or the international site at http://www.amnesty.org, you’ll see Amnesty advocating for human rights around the world regardless of political system or regime. We do not tell ANY country that they do not have the right to self-defense, but we do remind them that as they do so – they are obligated to follow recognized rules of war and not violate the human rights of others through indiscriminate or unjust policies.

    And thank you for the link to the Al Jazeera article. Interesting. Although this is one more argument to lift the blockade. The blockade is NOT harming Hamas, but aiding them to profit from it as it continues to harm the innocent civilians caught in the middle.

  10. Judo,

    Legally, the ultimate responsibility of lifting the blockade lies with Israel – the occupying power and party who imposed and is enforcing the blockade. Since Israel is the appropriate party to address then, Amnesty addresses its concerns with the blockade to Israel.

    Egypt is indeed located next to the Gaza Strip but as a sovereign nation with no legal responsibility over the Gaza Strip, unlike Israel, we do not address our concerns about the blockade to Egypt. Egypt has the right to control it's borders in accordance with the law, adhering to internationally recognized humanitarian standards just like other countries. Amnesty HAS, in the past, addressed our concerns in regards to the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt to Egypt concerning matters of this nature.

    Since this blog post is about the legality of the Israeli imposed blockade on the Gaza Strip and the Israeli interception of the flotilla in 2010, Egypt did not come into the picture.

    Since Israel eased the restrictions on consumer goods last summer, you are correct that there are more consumer goods available and that some quantities of supplies and equipment for industry, agriculture and infrastructure maintenance and repair has been allowed to enter. But as mentioned before and as documented by different NGO’s, the quantities allowed in have been nowhere near what is required to recover from the de-development that has been forced to happen over the years and after the devastating bombardment of two years ago.

    Also, Israel requires all goods to enter through crossings directly controlled by them. It is highly misleading to twist this fact to say that Egypt ‘forbids’ goods from entering through the Rafah crossing. And in addition to the fact that Egypt does not have a legal obligation to meet the needs of those living in Gaza (like Israel which as the occupying power does), one crossing would be hard pressed to handle the massive amounts of goods required to service the 1.6 million currently living in Gaza and provide what’s needed to recover and rebuild after years of deprivation and conflict.

    re: rockets – Amnesty International has consistently condemned the firing of indiscriminate rockets into southern Israel and considers it a war crime. Also, Amnesty has never said that Israel does not have the right to ‘prevent weapons’ from entering Gaza. The current blockade does much more than simply ‘prevent weapons’ from entering the strip, but collectively punishes everyone living there. Israeli leaders have also publicly stated that the purpose of the blockade is to apply pressure on the populace which is clearly collective punishment. Collective punishment or punishing those who are not involved in any offense, to apply political pressure or as a punitive measure contravenes international law – thus making the blockade illegal.

    You appear to believe that somehow Amnesty is picking on Israel unfairly, yet if you take a look at our website at http://www.amnestyusa.org or the international site at http://www.amnesty.org, you’ll see Amnesty advocating for human rights around the world regardless of political system or regime. We do not tell ANY country that they do not have the right to self-defense, but we do remind them that as they do so – they are obligated to follow recognized rules of war and not violate the human rights of others through indiscriminate or unjust policies.

    And thank you for the link to the Al Jazeera article. Interesting. Although this is one more argument to lift the blockade. The blockade is NOT harming Hamas, but aiding them to profit from it as it continues to harm the innocent civilians caught in the middle.

  11. Ari,

    Thank you for letting me know that the post was unclear to you. The responsibility to communicate an idea or argument is always with the communicator, whether through speaking or writing and I’ll be the first to admit, I can always do better and will endeavor to do so.

    This post, first and foremost, was to address the fallacy behind the headlines in several newspapers that the blockade on Gaza was found to be legal by the Palmer Commission. It certainly was not.

    As I stated in the blog, “The Palmer report’s finding that the naval blockade is lawful should NOT be interpreted to mean that the entire closure regime imposed by Israel on the Gaza Strip is legal.”

  12. Is this written in an intentionally confusing way? To say that the naval blockade was ruled to be legal and that this is no way means that the blockade was ruled to be legal really needs a whole more explication. The presumption seems to be that this must make the non-naval part of the blockade illegal … but you do not spell out a case for this AND you directly argue that “Israel has the right to determine where and how goods and people should enter the territory it occupies.”

    I look for a much higher standard from Amnesty International when it comes to explaining the intricacies of international law and its relation to human rights and intra- and inter-state conflict.

    I’ve written a short “reply” blog post that highlights where I think you’ve gone wrong here: http://kohenari.net/post/9883366579

  13. Edie:
    Thank you for your response.

    Your argument is invalid because it is predicated on the false premise that Israelis still occupying Gaza.

    Not one Israeli is occupying a centimetre of Gazan soil for 5 years now.

    Israel controls part of Gaza's external borders and Egypt controls the part of Gaza's borders. What is the difference exactly because I do not buy it.

    If your criteria for judging that Israel is still in occupation of Gaza, even though no Israeli is inside Gaza for 5 years is based on Israel's control of only part of Gaza's external borders then you must also apply this same criteria to Egypt and you must therefore conclude Egypt is also in occupation of Gaza.

    This logic is inescapable Edie.

    There is no difference what so ever between Israel and Egypt, except as I say Israel allows all humanitarian and other goods to cross unrestricted except military products, where as Egypt, which as I have shown is as much or as little an occupier of Gaza as Israel is, illegally blocks all humanitarian goods over its border.

    And by the way Edie, you claim the Kerem Shalom crossing is to small to allow enough trucks to cross into Gaza from Israel, that 400 trucks a day on average is too small a number to meet Gaza's needs.

    So Edie, please explain then why Hamas has repeatedly dispatched suicide bombers to attack the Kerem Shalom border crossing operated by the UN and the Red Cross, and why Hamas has threaten to attack with suicide bombers any other border crossings should the Israelis try open any more up into Gaza to facilitate an increase in border traffic.

    Do you really think it is fair to blame the lack of border crossing capacity on Israel when it is Hamas, not Israel that refuses to allow any more border crossing into Gaza to be opened ?

    Also you contradict yourself by agreeing that Israel being in a state of war declared not by Israel but by Hamas, Israel under international laws of war is therefore permitted to stop its enemy from obtaining weapons but that the current embargo goes to far.

    How exactly Edie would you personal suggest the Israelis carry out their right to defend their innocent women and children from Gazan rocket attacks without the blockade ? What should Israel do instead according to you? Send them a sternly written letter asking Hamas to please, pretty please stop importing long range Iranian missiles ?

    I am asking you this seriously Edie, not rhetorical.

    Please propose exactly how you wish the Israelis to alter the terms of the blockade to both fulfil its right to self defence to prevent arms importation into Gaza without unduly impacting the people of Gaza.

    Thank you for your time in reading my question.

  14. I'm behind judo 110 percent. You can't argue facts. I will be so happy the day bashing Israel becomes less en vogue. The more people pay attention and learn facts – the more ridiculous your stance becomes. You should be a dinosaur by now – but that day is coming. You have to be honest and ask yourself what becomes of Israel and her citizens the day they do everything you so foolishly demand? Totally a hypothetical – and it will be a cold day in hell before being that stupid. But what if???

  15. First of all let's be clear, it is not my opinion or just Amnesty’s opinion – it is international consensus. Under international law, a party that maintains ‘effective control’ over an area and thus effective control over the lives of the inhabitants in that territory, that party is considered an occupying power even if troops are 'on the ground' only intermittently.

    Israel controls all but one of Gaza’s land crossings; they control the airspace, territorial waters, population registry and telecommunications. Controlling the crossings, of course, means controlling what is permitted to enter including water, food, fuel, parts and equipment needed for maintenance of all municipal infrastructure for water and electricity – among too many things to list. It means controlling what is allowed to exit including all exports. Controlling the crossings and the population registry means controlling the people also – who is permitted to exit and enter.

    Since Israel maintains effective control of Gaza and is legally recognized internationally as the occupying power there, Israel is legally obligated to do certain things and not do certain things – mainly outlined by the Fourth Geneva Convention.

    As I mentioned before, Egypt is a sovereign nation and has the same humanitarian responsibilities to the Gaza Strip that other countries do, but is not considered an occupying power to Gaza since it has no effective control over the entire strip, only partial control of the one land crossing, Rafah.

    You then ask me to respond to things I never said – I'll just skip those.

    You then ask me what I would personally suggest for Israel to do for self defense against rocket fire. Israel has control of all the land crossings; Israel has the capability to stop weapons and military supplies or equipment from entering the strip by implementing the procedures and using the equipment supplied to the crossings previously. They are capable of thoroughly searching goods and people entering the strip without blocking all exports which has decimated Gaza’s economy; without restricting supplies and equipment needed to let the Gazans start to rebuild and recover from years of abuse; without restricting the flow of people to an extremely small percentage of emergency humanitarian cases, businessmen and diplomats; without cutting off the Gaza Strip from the West Bank which is suppose to be considered one territorial unit under an agreement signed by both the Palestinians and Israel.

    Plus, security and stopping weapons from entering Gaza were uncovered as a red herring issue anyway. Even Israeli politicians came out and admitted that the blockade on Gaza was to apply pressure in the inhabitants and if it were about weapons, the blockade has definitely back-fired as you so apply provided the link to the Al Jazeera article documenting how Hamas has not only taken over the 'tunnel industry', but is profiting from it and allowing weapons to enter through this route.

    The organization, Amnesty Int'l, does not make suggestions such as I did. You asked for my personal opinion and I gave it. Amnesty applies the appropriate and applicable law for the region and situation to advocate for the respect of everyone’s universal human rights, both Palestinian and Israeli, in the area. Amnesty has said repeatedly that Israel, as all countries do, has a right to self defense, but in executing that right, they cannot violate the basic human rights of others as they are now doing.

  16. Judo,

    Legally, the ultimate responsibility of lifting the blockade lies with Israel – the occupying power and party who imposed and is enforcing the blockade. Since Israel is the appropriate party to address then, Amnesty addresses its concerns with the blockade to Israel.

    Egypt is indeed located next to the Gaza Strip but as a sovereign nation with no legal responsibility over the Gaza Strip, unlike Israel, we do not address our concerns about the blockade to Egypt. Egypt has the right to control it’s borders in accordance with the law, adhering to internationally recognized humanitarian standards just like other countries. Amnesty HAS, in the past, addressed our concerns in regards to the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt to Egypt concerning matters of this nature.

    Since this blog post is about the legality of the Israeli imposed blockade on the Gaza Strip and the Israeli interception of the flotilla in 2010, Egypt did not come into the picture.

    Since Israel eased the restrictions on consumer goods last summer, you are correct that there are more consumer goods available and that some quantities of supplies and equipment for industry, agriculture and infrastructure maintenance and repair has been allowed to enter. But as mentioned before and as documented by different NGO’s, the quantities allowed in have been nowhere near what is required to recover from the de-development that has been forced to happen over the years and after the devastating bombardment of two years ago.

    Also, Israel requires all goods to enter through crossings directly controlled by them. It is highly misleading to twist this fact to say that Egypt ‘forbids’ goods from entering through the Rafah crossing. And in addition to the fact that Egypt does not have a legal obligation to meet the needs of those living in Gaza (like Israel which as the occupying power does), one crossing would be hard pressed to handle the massive amounts of goods required to service the 1.6 million currently living in Gaza and provide what’s needed to recover and rebuild after years of deprivation and conflict.

    re: rockets – Amnesty International has consistently condemned the firing of indiscriminate rockets into southern Israel and considers it a war crime. Also, Amnesty has never said that Israel does not have the right to ‘prevent weapons’ from entering Gaza. The current blockade does much more than simply ‘prevent weapons’ from entering the strip, but collectively punishes everyone living there. Israeli leaders have also publicly stated that the purpose of the blockade is to apply pressure on the populace which is clearly collective punishment. Collective punishment or punishing those who are not involved in any offense, to apply political pressure or as a punitive measure contravenes international law – thus making the blockade illegal.

    You appear to believe that somehow Amnesty is picking on Israel unfairly, yet if you take a look at our website at http://www.amnestyusa.org or the international site at http://www.amnesty.org, you’ll see Amnesty advocating for human rights around the world regardless of political system or regime. We do not tell ANY country that they do not have the right to self-defense, but we do remind them that as they do so – they are obligated to follow recognized rules of war and not violate the human rights of others through indiscriminate or unjust policies.

    And thank you for the link to the Al Jazeera article. Interesting. Although this is one more argument to lift the blockade. The blockade is NOT harming Hamas, but aiding them to profit from it as it continues to harm the innocent civilians caught in the middle.

  17. Brian – What? When all parties in the region respect each others' universal, basic human rights? Not sure why that is ridiculous, but I do know that there will not be peace or security for anyone until human rights are respected by Israel and by the Palestinian Authority, including Hamas.

    Internationally accepted human rights standards based on international law are not ridiculous expectations and most grew out of the horrors experienced during WWI and WWII and from principles established during the Nuremberg trials. They were created to protect the weak, the vulnerable and the powerless and as a means to provide accountability should those protections fail.

    Sorry Brian – I don't see advocating for these principles as ridiculous at all.

  18. Ari,

    Thank you for letting me know that the post was unclear to you. The responsibility to communicate an idea or argument is always with the communicator, whether through speaking or writing and I’ll be the first to admit, I can always do better and will endeavor to do so.

    This post, first and foremost, was to address the fallacy behind the headlines in several newspapers that the blockade on Gaza was found to be legal by the Palmer Commission. It certainly was not.

    As I stated in the blog, “The Palmer report’s finding that the naval blockade is lawful should NOT be interpreted to mean that the entire closure regime imposed by Israel on the Gaza Strip is legal.”

  19. Edie:
    Thank you for your response.

    Your argument is invalid because it is predicated on the false premise that Israelis still occupying Gaza.

    Not one Israeli is occupying a centimetre of Gazan soil for 5 years now.

    Israel controls part of Gaza’s external borders and Egypt controls the part of Gaza’s borders. What is the difference exactly because I do not buy it.

    If your criteria for judging that Israel is still in occupation of Gaza, even though no Israeli is inside Gaza for 5 years is based on Israel’s control of only part of Gaza’s external borders then you must also apply this same criteria to Egypt and you must therefore conclude Egypt is also in occupation of Gaza.

    This logic is inescapable Edie.

    There is no difference what so ever between Israel and Egypt, except as I say Israel allows all humanitarian and other goods to cross unrestricted except military products, where as Egypt, which as I have shown is as much or as little an occupier of Gaza as Israel is, illegally blocks all humanitarian goods over its border.

    And by the way Edie, you claim the Kerem Shalom crossing is to small to allow enough trucks to cross into Gaza from Israel, that 400 trucks a day on average is too small a number to meet Gaza’s needs.

    So Edie, please explain then why Hamas has repeatedly dispatched suicide bombers to attack the Kerem Shalom border crossing operated by the UN and the Red Cross, and why Hamas has threaten to attack with suicide bombers any other border crossings should the Israelis try open any more up into Gaza to facilitate an increase in border traffic.

    Do you really think it is fair to blame the lack of border crossing capacity on Israel when it is Hamas, not Israel that refuses to allow any more border crossing into Gaza to be opened ?

    Also you contradict yourself by agreeing that Israel being in a state of war declared not by Israel but by Hamas, Israel under international laws of war is therefore permitted to stop its enemy from obtaining weapons but that the current embargo goes to far.

    How exactly Edie would you personal suggest the Israelis carry out their right to defend their innocent women and children from Gazan rocket attacks without the blockade ? What should Israel do instead according to you? Send them a sternly written letter asking Hamas to please, pretty please stop importing long range Iranian missiles ?

    I am asking you this seriously Edie, not rhetorical.

    Please propose exactly how you wish the Israelis to alter the terms of the blockade to both fulfil its right to self defence to prevent arms importation into Gaza without unduly impacting the people of Gaza.

    Thank you for your time in reading my question.

  20. Edie:

    In fact, ‘effective control’ of Gaza is shared by 3 parties. Israel, Egypt and Hamas. Each of these groups is "effectively" in full control of different parts of Gaza. Israel controls the air and sea approaches and the eastern borders of Gaza, Egypt has full ‘effective control’ over the western border of Gaza and Hamas is in full ‘effective control’ over the interior of Gaza.

    Israel has no control in any way "effective' or otherwise over the 20 km long stretch of border Gaza shares with Egypt. This is sovereign Egyptian territory and if Egypt wanted to knock a twenty lane divided superhighway across that border or for that matter a Japanese style magnetic levitating bullet train with departures for Cairo leaving every 15 minutes Israel couldn't say boo.

    Therefore Israel is not in ‘effective control’ of all 100% of Gaza, neither its western border or its interior, and so by your own definition Israel is no longer the occupation power in Gaza.

    We will just have to agree to disagree on this.

    But I realize I did make one major omission when I claimed all Israeli occupiers had in fact left Gaza 5 years ago, and I do have to correct myself.

    In fact not all Israeli occupiers have left Gaza. One remains. For more than five years now, never accused of any crime, kidnapped and illegally held as a hostage for ransom the young guy Gilad Shalit, who just turned 25 last week, Gilad Shalit is the one Israeli still to occupy Gaza, still occupying the tiny underground solitary confinement dungeon in Gaza where he has been kept 5 years now without so much as a letter to his mother or a visit from the Red Cross.

    So you turned out to be just the tiniest bit right after all Edie. One Israeli still is occupying part of Gaza, poor tortured Gilad Shalit, may his freedom come soon.

  21. I’m behind judo 110 percent. You can’t argue facts. I will be so happy the day bashing Israel becomes less en vogue. The more people pay attention and learn facts – the more ridiculous your stance becomes. You should be a dinosaur by now – but that day is coming. You have to be honest and ask yourself what becomes of Israel and her citizens the day they do everything you so foolishly demand? Totally a hypothetical – and it will be a cold day in hell before being that stupid. But what if???

  22. First of all let’s be clear, it is not my opinion or just Amnesty’s opinion – it is international consensus. Under international law, a party that maintains ‘effective control’ over an area and thus effective control over the lives of the inhabitants in that territory, that party is considered an occupying power even if troops are ‘on the ground’ only intermittently.

    Israel controls all but one of Gaza’s land crossings; they control the airspace, territorial waters, population registry and telecommunications. Controlling the crossings, of course, means controlling what is permitted to enter including water, food, fuel, parts and equipment needed for maintenance of all municipal infrastructure for water and electricity – among too many things to list. It means controlling what is allowed to exit including all exports. Controlling the crossings and the population registry means controlling the people also – who is permitted to exit and enter.

    Since Israel maintains effective control of Gaza and is legally recognized internationally as the occupying power there, Israel is legally obligated to do certain things and not do certain things – mainly outlined by the Fourth Geneva Convention.

    As I mentioned before, Egypt is a sovereign nation and has the same humanitarian responsibilities to the Gaza Strip that other countries do, but is not considered an occupying power to Gaza since it has no effective control over the entire strip, only partial control of the one land crossing, Rafah.

    You then ask me to respond to things I never said – I’ll just skip those.

    You then ask me what I would personally suggest for Israel to do for self defense against rocket fire. Israel has control of all the land crossings; Israel has the capability to stop weapons and military supplies or equipment from entering the strip by implementing the procedures and using the equipment supplied to the crossings previously. They are capable of thoroughly searching goods and people entering the strip without blocking all exports which has decimated Gaza’s economy; without restricting supplies and equipment needed to let the Gazans start to rebuild and recover from years of abuse; without restricting the flow of people to an extremely small percentage of emergency humanitarian cases, businessmen and diplomats; without cutting off the Gaza Strip from the West Bank which is suppose to be considered one territorial unit under an agreement signed by both the Palestinians and Israel.

    Plus, security and stopping weapons from entering Gaza were uncovered as a red herring issue anyway. Even Israeli politicians came out and admitted that the blockade on Gaza was to apply pressure in the inhabitants and if it were about weapons, the blockade has definitely back-fired as you so apply provided the link to the Al Jazeera article documenting how Hamas has not only taken over the ‘tunnel industry’, but is profiting from it and allowing weapons to enter through this route.

    The organization, Amnesty Int’l, does not make suggestions such as I did. You asked for my personal opinion and I gave it. Amnesty applies the appropriate and applicable law for the region and situation to advocate for the respect of everyone’s universal human rights, both Palestinian and Israeli, in the area. Amnesty has said repeatedly that Israel, as all countries do, has a right to self defense, but in executing that right, they cannot violate the basic human rights of others as they are now doing.

  23. Brian – What? When all parties in the region respect each others’ universal, basic human rights? Not sure why that is ridiculous, but I do know that there will not be peace or security for anyone until human rights are respected by Israel and by the Palestinian Authority, including Hamas.

    Internationally accepted human rights standards based on international law are not ridiculous expectations and most grew out of the horrors experienced during WWI and WWII and from principles established during the Nuremberg trials. They were created to protect the weak, the vulnerable and the powerless and as a means to provide accountability should those protections fail.

    Sorry Brian – I don’t see advocating for these principles as ridiculous at all.

  24. Edie:

    In fact, ‘effective control’ of Gaza is shared by 3 parties. Israel, Egypt and Hamas. Each of these groups is “effectively” in full control of different parts of Gaza. Israel controls the air and sea approaches and the eastern borders of Gaza, Egypt has full ‘effective control’ over the western border of Gaza and Hamas is in full ‘effective control’ over the interior of Gaza.

    Israel has no control in any way “effective’ or otherwise over the 20 km long stretch of border Gaza shares with Egypt. This is sovereign Egyptian territory and if Egypt wanted to knock a twenty lane divided superhighway across that border or for that matter a Japanese style magnetic levitating bullet train with departures for Cairo leaving every 15 minutes Israel couldn’t say boo.

    Therefore Israel is not in ‘effective control’ of all 100% of Gaza, neither its western border or its interior, and so by your own definition Israel is no longer the occupation power in Gaza.

    We will just have to agree to disagree on this.

    But I realize I did make one major omission when I claimed all Israeli occupiers had in fact left Gaza 5 years ago, and I do have to correct myself.

    In fact not all Israeli occupiers have left Gaza. One remains. For more than five years now, never accused of any crime, kidnapped and illegally held as a hostage for ransom the young guy Gilad Shalit, who just turned 25 last week, Gilad Shalit is the one Israeli still to occupy Gaza, still occupying the tiny underground solitary confinement dungeon in Gaza where he has been kept 5 years now without so much as a letter to his mother or a visit from the Red Cross.

    So you turned out to be just the tiniest bit right after all Edie. One Israeli still is occupying part of Gaza, poor tortured Gilad Shalit, may his freedom come soon.

  25. Everyday must be sunny, plenty of fluffy cute animals and lots of pretty flowers where you live.
    These necessary and LEGAL actions taken by Israel wouldn't be necessary in your perfect world. Universal basic human rights?

    One side is anti-semitic, lobbing missiles and has a charter that calls for the obliteration or dissolution of Israel…"The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews and kill them; until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: Oh Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!” Hamas ruling party has come to greater power as the result of being chosen by it's electorate. These so-called "victims" of human rights violations.

    The other side wants to live in peace and is simply forced to defend herself.

    So whose human rights are being violated?

  26. Thanks Edith for this post.

    It's always hard to tell the truth about Israel in the US, and especially leading up to the UN General Assembly this month.

    Israel is clearly illegally occupying Palestine. Anyone without the US/Israeli exceptionism glasses on can see that. A trip to the West Bank makes it extremely clear. (Forget trying to see Gaza; Israel won't allow it.) And Israeli human rights groups — ICAHD and B'Tselem as examples — provide yet another source of lucidity.

    Notwithstanding the defensive response you've received here, the majority of the world sees this issue as plain as it is.

    Thanks for braving the stormy weather, and please keep your informative posts coming.

  27. Everyday must be sunny, plenty of fluffy cute animals and lots of pretty flowers where you live.
    These necessary and LEGAL actions taken by Israel wouldn’t be necessary in your perfect world. Universal basic human rights?

    One side is anti-semitic, lobbing missiles and has a charter that calls for the obliteration or dissolution of Israel…”The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews and kill them; until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: Oh Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!” Hamas ruling party has come to greater power as the result of being chosen by it’s electorate. These so-called “victims” of human rights violations.

    The other side wants to live in peace and is simply forced to defend herself.

    So whose human rights are being violated?

  28. Erica :

    If you want to visit Gaza so badly I have a solution for you. Why don't you simply hope a plane and fly to El Arish International Airport In Egyptian Sinai, then take a 15 minute taxi ride from the airport north, staying inside sovereign Egyptian territory all the way, to the Rafa pedestrian border crossing between Egypt and Gaza and visit Gaza that way? Israel can't do a thing to stop you. There has not been one single Israeli border guard on that crossing for 5 years now. Rafa pedestrian crossing only has Egyptian and Hamas border guards for the past 5 years.

    I am sure you will have a lovely time as a tourist. All the Gazan people I have ever met without exception are highly educated, very nice and polite people on an individual basis, the level of violence in Gaza the last 2 and 1/2 years is much less than the average large American city according to BtSelem, several beautiful 5 star hotel and beach resort complexes on the Mediterranean shore with excellent restaurants have opened recently, and the shopping is great what with all the new shopping malls that have opened and the amazing Gaza City market with its kilometer after kilometer of shops packed with consumer goods and overflowing fruit and vegetable stands.

    Ooops, I'm sorry, I forgot, you will have to cancel your trip after all.

    You see, Egypt won't issue you an exit permit to leave Egypt into Gaza over the Raffa crossing and Hamas won't issue you a entrance visa to cross into Gaza from Egypt and Israel has nothing to do with that. Since both the Egyptian and the Hamas authorities are extremely corrupt there is a distinct possibility you could bribe your way into Gaza after all, but that would probably use up your tourist budget, I'm afraid.

    So Erika, your statement blaming Israel and Israel alone for you not being allowed to enter Gaza is only a partial version of the truth, isn't it?

  29. Not quite sure how the Palmer Report concluded this, and it was disappointing. Israel's excessive force, oppression, and malcontent for international laws is unbelievable.

  30. Alexander:

    Do you deny that the initial Israeli boarding party was beaten nearly to death with clubs, stabbed with knives and then taken below deck in an apparent attempt to take them hostage, and all this occurred before the Israelis first opened live fire?

    The whole world has seen the videos of the initial attack on the boarding party starting the instant they landed on the ship deck, and the photos of the stabbed Israelis being held below deck, and that is what the Palmer Commission decided in fact occurred.

    Here is a picture in the archives of the main Turkish newspaper website Hurriyet clearly showing one of the Israelis taken hostage stabbed, bleeding and lying defenseless on the ground surrounded by the Turkish attackers.

    Note in particular the Turkish hand in the lower left of the photo holding a large hunting knife over the captured and stabbed Israeli. See for yourself:
    http://fotogaleri.hurriyet.com.tr/GaleriDetay.asp

    The question of if the Israelis made major operational mistakes in planning this mission and if excessive force was used by the Israelis to rescue their captured colleagues is still up for debate,

    But after seeing what these people have done to the Israeli hostage Gilad Shalit, held in solitary confinement without Red Cross visits for these past 5 years now, can you really blame the Israelis for not allowing any of themselves to be taken hostage under any circumstances even if violence had to be used?

  31. Thanks Edith for this post.

    It’s always hard to tell the truth about Israel in the US, and especially leading up to the UN General Assembly this month.

    Israel is clearly illegally occupying Palestine. Anyone without the US/Israeli exceptionism glasses on can see that. A trip to the West Bank makes it extremely clear. (Forget trying to see Gaza; Israel won’t allow it.) And Israeli human rights groups — ICAHD and B’Tselem as examples — provide yet another source of lucidity.

    Notwithstanding the defensive response you’ve received here, the majority of the world sees this issue as plain as it is.

    Thanks for braving the stormy weather, and please keep your informative posts coming.

  32. Edie,
    Thank you for your reply. The problem, I think, is highlighted nicely in what you say: if the main purpose of your post was to decry the bad headlines, which proclaim that the blockade is lawful, then you haven't quite been successful. The articles are all about the flotilla, which means they are dealing with the naval blockade, which the Palmer Report concluded was lawful. In this way, the headlines aren't *nearly* as misleading as you paint them. What you want to do, it seems to me, is to claim that *even if* the naval blockade was concluded to be lawful, the media ought to have brought up what you take to be the illegality of the closure of Gaza (on the Israeli) border. But that would be a very different story, one that doesn't really deal with the Palmer Report, with the flotilla, or with Turkish-Israeli relations … which are the newsworthy items at present.
    That's the confusion here: your complaint is that the media hasn't reported on the real story, which is that you take every other part of the Gaza closure to be illegal … but the media has reported on the story of the moment (as they always do), which is that the *naval* blockade was just concluded to be lawful.

  33. Alexander:

    Do you deny that the initial Israeli boarding party was beaten nearly to death with clubs, stabbed with knives and then taken below deck in an apparent attempt to take them hostage, and all this occurred before the Israelis first opened live fire?

    The whole world has seen the videos of the initial attack on the boarding party starting the instant they landed on the ship deck, and the photos of the stabbed Israelis being held below deck, and that is what the Palmer Commission decided in fact occurred.

    Here is a picture in the archives of the main Turkish newspaper website Hurriyet clearly showing one of the Israelis taken hostage stabbed, bleeding and lying defenseless on the ground surrounded by the Turkish attackers.

    Note in particular the Turkish hand in the lower left of the photo holding a large hunting knife over the captured and stabbed Israeli. See for yourself:
    http://fotogaleri.hurriyet.com.tr/GaleriDetay.asp

    The question of if the Israelis made major operational mistakes in planning this mission and if excessive force was used by the Israelis to rescue their captured colleagues is still up for debate,

    But after seeing what these people have done to the Israeli hostage Gilad Shalit, held in solitary confinement without Red Cross visits for these past 5 years now, can you really blame the Israelis for not allowing any of themselves to be taken hostage under any circumstances even if violence had to be used?

  34. Alexander:

    Do you deny that the initial Israeli boarding party was beaten nearly to death with clubs, stabbed with knives and then taken below deck in an apparent attempt to take them hostage, and all this occurred before the Israelis first opened live fire?

    The whole world has seen the videos of the initial attack on the boarding party starting the instant they landed on the ship deck, and the photos of the stabbed Israelis being held below deck, and that is what the Palmer Commission decided in fact occurred.

    Here is a picture in the archives of the main Turkish newspaper website Hurriyet clearly showing one of the Israelis taken hostage stabbed, bleeding and lying defenseless on the ground surrounded by the Turkish attackers.

    Note in particular the Turkish hand in the lower left of the photo holding a large hunting knife over the captured and stabbed Israeli. See for yourself:
    http://fotogaleri.hurriyet.com.tr/GaleriDetay.asp

    The question of if the Israelis made major operational mistakes in planning this mission and if excessive force was used by the Israelis to rescue their captured colleagues is still up for debate,

    But after seeing what these people have done to the Israeli hostage Gilad Shalit, held in solitary confinement without Red Cross visits for these past 5 years now, can you really blame the Israelis for not allowing any of themselves to be taken hostage under any circumstances even if violence had to be used?

  35. Erica :

    If you want to visit Gaza so badly I have a solution for you. Why don’t you simply hope a plane and fly to El Arish International Airport In Egyptian Sinai, then take a 15 minute taxi ride from the airport north, staying inside sovereign Egyptian territory all the way, to the Rafa pedestrian border crossing between Egypt and Gaza and visit Gaza that way? Israel can’t do a thing to stop you. There has not been one single Israeli border guard on that crossing for 5 years now. Rafa pedestrian crossing only has Egyptian and Hamas border guards for the past 5 years.

    I am sure you will have a lovely time as a tourist. All the Gazan people I have ever met without exception are highly educated, very nice and polite people on an individual basis, the level of violence in Gaza the last 2 and 1/2 years is much less than the average large American city according to BtSelem, several beautiful 5 star hotel and beach resort complexes on the Mediterranean shore with excellent restaurants have opened recently, and the shopping is great what with all the new shopping malls that have opened and the amazing Gaza City market with its kilometer after kilometer of shops packed with consumer goods and overflowing fruit and vegetable stands.

    Ooops, I’m sorry, I forgot, you will have to cancel your trip after all.

    You see, Egypt won’t issue you an exit permit to leave Egypt into Gaza over the Raffa crossing and Hamas won’t issue you a entrance visa to cross into Gaza from Egypt and Israel has nothing to do with that. Since both the Egyptian and the Hamas authorities are extremely corrupt there is a distinct possibility you could bribe your way into Gaza after all, but that would probably use up your tourist budget, I’m afraid.

    So Erika, your statement blaming Israel and Israel alone for you not being allowed to enter Gaza is only a partial version of the truth, isn’t it?

  36. Not quite sure how the Palmer Report concluded this, and it was disappointing. Israel’s excessive force, oppression, and malcontent for international laws is unbelievable.

  37. Edie,
    Thank you for your reply. The problem, I think, is highlighted nicely in what you say: if the main purpose of your post was to decry the bad headlines, which proclaim that the blockade is lawful, then you haven’t quite been successful. The articles are all about the flotilla, which means they are dealing with the naval blockade, which the Palmer Report concluded was lawful. In this way, the headlines aren’t *nearly* as misleading as you paint them. What you want to do, it seems to me, is to claim that *even if* the naval blockade was concluded to be lawful, the media ought to have brought up what you take to be the illegality of the closure of Gaza (on the Israeli) border. But that would be a very different story, one that doesn’t really deal with the Palmer Report, with the flotilla, or with Turkish-Israeli relations … which are the newsworthy items at present.
    That’s the confusion here: your complaint is that the media hasn’t reported on the real story, which is that you take every other part of the Gaza closure to be illegal … but the media has reported on the story of the moment (as they always do), which is that the *naval* blockade was just concluded to be lawful.

  38. Alexander:

    Do you deny that the initial Israeli boarding party was beaten nearly to death with clubs, stabbed with knives and then taken below deck in an apparent attempt to take them hostage, and all this occurred before the Israelis first opened live fire?

    The whole world has seen the videos of the initial attack on the boarding party starting the instant they landed on the ship deck, and the photos of the stabbed Israelis being held below deck, and that is what the Palmer Commission decided in fact occurred.

    Here is a picture in the archives of the main Turkish newspaper website Hurriyet clearly showing one of the Israelis taken hostage stabbed, bleeding and lying defenseless on the ground surrounded by the Turkish attackers.

    Note in particular the Turkish hand in the lower left of the photo holding a large hunting knife over the captured and stabbed Israeli. See for yourself:

    http://fotogaleri.hurriyet.com.tr/GaleriDetay.aspx?cid=36575&p=1&rid=2

    The question of if the Israelis made major operational mistakes in planning this mission and if excessive force was used by the Israelis to rescue their captured colleagues is still up for debate,

    But after seeing what these people have done to the Israeli hostage Gilad Shalit, held in solitary confinement without Red Cross visits for these past 5 years now, can you really blame the Israelis for not allowing any of themselves to be taken hostage under any circumstances even if violence had to be used?

  39. Israel DOES NOT have ANY "right" to block or board ANY ship WHATSOEVER in INTERNATIONAL WATERS.

    NONE.

    When others do it, we call such an act "PIRACY".

    What do you call it ??

  40. Dear Erica ……

    Wondering why Judonimh suggests you go to Gaza VIA EGYPT ??

    WHY not go through PALESTINE, the land to which Gaza BELONGS ??

    Because Israel DOESN'T want you to see her ONGOING GRAND THEFT of Jerusalem & the Occupied Territories.

    Because Israel has made travel for ANYONE other than Israelis & proIsraelis a DEHUMANIZING experience.

    & if you're proPalestinian & not scared to say so, you'll be thrown into a ROACH – INFESTED CELL like the international activists were, the elderly & male & female alike.

    Your money may be stolen, as foreign volunteers' often has been.

    You may be beaten or threatened with violence, to go by the experience of the same.

    & you'll be ultimately packed onto a flight OUT of Israel.

    & you're fate won't be different if you're Jewish … Israel isn't soft on Jews IF they're proPalestinian.

  41. The illegal Israeli StormTroopers storming onto the Mavi Marmara were beaten up ?

    Would pirates ARMED TO THE TEETH be treated the same by you if they parachuted onto your deck & took your whole ship hostage ?

    Could THEY charge you with fighting back ??

  42. Savage:
    I thought you were a poet, not an international jurist.

    The Secretary General of the United Nations himself personally appointed an impartial blue ribbon panel made up of experts in international law including a strong Turkish representation and they unanimously concluded that the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza is indeed completely 100% lawful as was the interdiction and boarding of the Mavi Mara ship in international waters since this ship had publicly stated its destination was the legally blockade sea port, was headed straight for it and it had refused to change course when offered the chance.

    As much as I enjoy your poetry, and believe me I really honestly do, I do not really get the impression you are a recognized world authority on the intricacies of the Law of the Sea and its application to armed conflict. I therefore am reluctantly forced take at face value the Palmer Commission's ruling on this point of law over your opinion.

  43. Judonimh even denies Israel's VIRTUAL OCCUPATION of Gaza !!

    When Israel COMPLETELY CONTROLS Gaza's borders, no – man's buffer zone, skies & seas, Israel practically controls ALL MOVEMENT & ACTIVITY INSIDE Gaza as well .

    …. & don't forget the video screens before which Israeli women military personnel sit & press buttons promptly to kill any Gazans their intructors tell them to kill, irrespective of the victims' sex, age, condition or attendant cicumstances.

    **************

    Judonimh says oh so innocently that Egypt controls her own "sovereign territory", her own border with Egypt …..

    He says Egypt, if she wanted, could even build a superhighway or Japanesestyle bullet train service on the Gaza border, & Israel couldn't do a thing !!

    It's Judonimh's lies that travel around the earth on a bulet train, it seems … while truth is stopped at Israel's myriad roadblocks.

    An analyst in an Egyptian policy think tank has just said Egypt couldn't do anything about opening up the Gaza border if she wanted to.

    Why ?

    Because Egypt's dependent on US aid, he says … & any such move would IMMEDIATELY STOP that aid flow !!

    Judonimh talks loud about Egypt's "sovereign territory" …. PRECISELY BECAUSE he KNOWS Egypt sovereignty dries up the closer she comes to Israel's interests !!

    For a long time Egypt couldn't even send her OWN TROOPS INTO THE SINAI to grab Mubarak for his trial …. because ISRAEL DOESN'T ALLOW Egypt's MILITARY to enter the Sinai WITHOUT ISRAEL'S PERMISSION !!

    Imagine a country which can't send even her own military freely into any region within her OWN borders !!

    That's what Egypt's truncated "sovereignty" amounts to today !!

    & Judonimh comes here & challenges Ms Garwood about Egypt's border !!

    The game's FIXED already … & Judonimh knows it & plays it for all it's worth, while he can !!

  44. Israel DOES NOT have ANY “right” to block or board ANY ship WHATSOEVER in INTERNATIONAL WATERS.

    NONE.

    When others do it, we call such an act “PIRACY”.

    What do you call it ??

  45. Palmer inquiry's a whitewash of Israel's illegal blockade of Gaza.

    The UN itself has characterized the blockade as illegal.

    & yes, the UN has also described Israel as the occupier of Gaza.

    Israel was also the illegal occupier of the Turkish aid ship, the Mavi Marmara, when her commandos boarded her.

    Israel was responsible for the safety of the ship's passengers.

    9 Turkish civilians were massacred by the Israeli commandos on the Mavi Marmara.

    An act of multiple murder of foreign volunteers UNPRECEDENTED in history, a CLEAR VIOLATION OF INTERNATIONAL LAW & INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW.

    No way to "justify" this.

    No way to construct, as Judonimh does, a flimsy & circumstantial case where the heavily armed commandes can be shown to be acting in "self defense" against the overpowered civilian passengers.

    The Center for Constitutional Rights says :

    "The flotilla did not seek to travel to Israel, let alone "attack" Israel …"

    Craig Murray, head of the Maritime Section of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, & the chief enforcer of the maritime blockade of Iraq in the First Gulf War, says the right of free passage on the High Seas is guaranteed by the UN Convention on the Law of the Seas .

    Says Murray, " Israel has declared a blockade on Gaza & justified previous fatal attacks on neutral civilian vessels on the High Seas …, under the legal cover given by the San Remo Manual of International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea."

    But, says Murray, San Remo applies only to blockades in wartime.

    He points out, "Israel is currently NOT engaged in armed conflict … San Remo DOES NOT confer ANY right to impose a PERMANENT BLOCKADE … & in fact SPECIFICALLY EXCLUDES AS ILLEGAL A GENERAL BLOCKADE ON AN ENTIRE POPULATION." (Emphases mine. )

  46. Dear Erica ……

    Wondering why Judonimh suggests you go to Gaza VIA EGYPT ??

    WHY not go through PALESTINE, the land to which Gaza BELONGS ??

    Because Israel DOESN’T want you to see her ONGOING GRAND THEFT of Jerusalem & the Occupied Territories.

    Because Israel has made travel for ANYONE other than Israelis & proIsraelis a DEHUMANIZING experience.

    & if you’re proPalestinian & not scared to say so, you’ll be thrown into a ROACH – INFESTED CELL like the international activists were, the elderly & male & female alike.

    Your money may be stolen, as foreign volunteers’ often has been.

    You may be beaten or threatened with violence, to go by the experience of the same.

    & you’ll be ultimately packed onto a flight OUT of Israel.

    & you’re fate won’t be different if you’re Jewish … Israel isn’t soft on Jews IF they’re proPalestinian.

  47. Judonimh does the same thing on any issue.

    Israel attacked the Mavi Marmara, you say ??

    No, it was the Mavi Marmara that attacked Israel's commandos, he says.

    Israel blockades Gaza, you think ??

    No, it's Hamas that blockades Gaza, he asserts.

    Do you know what the world believes ?

    The plain Truth.

    About ISRAEL'S blockade of Gaza.

    There's a limit to how far lies work, apparently.

  48. The illegal Israeli StormTroopers storming onto the Mavi Marmara were beaten up ?

    Would pirates ARMED TO THE TEETH be treated the same by you if they parachuted onto your deck & took your whole ship hostage ?

    Could THEY charge you with fighting back ??

  49. Savage:
    I thought you were a poet, not an international jurist.

    The Secretary General of the United Nations himself personally appointed an impartial blue ribbon panel made up of experts in international law including a strong Turkish representation and they unanimously concluded that the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza is indeed completely 100% lawful as was the interdiction and boarding of the Mavi Mara ship in international waters since this ship had publicly stated its destination was the legally blockade sea port, was headed straight for it and it had refused to change course when offered the chance.

    As much as I enjoy your poetry, and believe me I really honestly do, I do not really get the impression you are a recognized world authority on the intricacies of the Law of the Sea and its application to armed conflict. I therefore am reluctantly forced take at face value the Palmer Commission’s ruling on this point of law over your opinion.

  50. Judonimh even denies Israel’s VIRTUAL OCCUPATION of Gaza !!

    When Israel COMPLETELY CONTROLS Gaza’s borders, no – man’s buffer zone, skies & seas, Israel practically controls ALL MOVEMENT & ACTIVITY INSIDE Gaza as well .

    …. & don’t forget the video screens before which Israeli women military personnel sit & press buttons promptly to kill any Gazans their intructors tell them to kill, irrespective of the victims’ sex, age, condition or attendant cicumstances.

    **************

    Judonimh says oh so innocently that Egypt controls her own “sovereign territory”, her own border with Egypt …..

    He says Egypt, if she wanted, could even build a superhighway or Japanesestyle bullet train service on the Gaza border, & Israel couldn’t do a thing !!

    It’s Judonimh’s lies that travel around the earth on a bulet train, it seems … while truth is stopped at Israel’s myriad roadblocks.

    An analyst in an Egyptian policy think tank has just said Egypt couldn’t do anything about opening up the Gaza border if she wanted to.

    Why ?

    Because Egypt’s dependent on US aid, he says … & any such move would IMMEDIATELY STOP that aid flow !!

    Judonimh talks loud about Egypt’s “sovereign territory” …. PRECISELY BECAUSE he KNOWS Egypt sovereignty dries up the closer she comes to Israel’s interests !!

    For a long time Egypt couldn’t even send her OWN TROOPS INTO THE SINAI to grab Mubarak for his trial …. because ISRAEL DOESN’T ALLOW Egypt’s MILITARY to enter the Sinai WITHOUT ISRAEL’S PERMISSION !!

    Imagine a country which can’t send even her own military freely into any region within her OWN borders !!

    That’s what Egypt’s truncated “sovereignty” amounts to today !!

    & Judonimh comes here & challenges Ms Garwood about Egypt’s border !!

    The game’s FIXED already … & Judonimh knows it & plays it for all it’s worth, while he can !!

  51. Talk all you want Mr. Savage, talk until the cows come home if you want.

    Nothing you can ever say will talk louder or more eloquently about what exactly happened on that ship than that photo I linked to above on the web site of the main Turkish newspaper showing the member of the first wave of the Israeli boarding party lying defenseless, bloody and stabbed with one Turkish hand clearly to be seen in the photo around his throat and another Turkish hand clearly seen in the bottom of the photo holding the large knife that did the stabbing.

    Here is the link to the photo again in case you missed it. It is certainly quite the photo, no? I particular admire the excellent work the photojournalist did under the circumstances in bringing the hunting knife the Israeli had just been stabbed with into such excellent and sharp focus.
    http://fotogaleri.hurriyet.com.tr/GaleriDetay.asp

    So this you call being "beaten up". Calling the experience these Israeli kids suffered while carrying out their now UN certified lawful duty of having a frenzied mob of 50 Turkish Army combat veterans raining death blows with steel pipes on their sculls followed by being stabbing as only being "beaten up" is the understatement of the week don't you think?

    And by the way Savage, yes the "UN" did already call the blockade illegal. But what part of the UN did that is the question. Why the UN Human Rights Council of course, that huge practical joke where the absolute worst human rights abusers on earth, such moral superior upstanding world citizens, such paragons of absolute virtue like Libya, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, China and Cuba get together and protect each other from any investigations while attacking Israel day in and day out.

    UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, former High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson, former Secretary General Kofi Annan, the European Union, Canada and the United States have all accused the UN Human Rights Council of having an anti-Israeli bias. For example, since the foundation of the UNHRC in 2006 through the year 2010 it had passed 51 resolutions in total, 40 of which were condemnations of Israel. So just because the UN Human Rights Council says the blockade of Gaza is illegal does not make it so.

  52. Talk all you want Mr. Savage, talk until the cows come home if you want.

    Nothing you can ever say will talk louder or more eloquently about what exactly happened on that ship than that photo I linked to above on the web site of the main Turkish newspaper showing the member of the first wave of the Israeli boarding party lying defenseless, bloody and stabbed with one Turkish hand clearly to be seen in the photo around his throat and another Turkish hand clearly seen in the bottom of the photo holding the large knife that did the stabbing.

    Here is the link to the photo again in case you missed it. It is certainly quite the photo, no? I particular admire the excellent work the photojournalist did under the circumstances in bringing the hunting knife the Israeli had just been stabbed with into such excellent and sharp focus.
    http://fotogaleri.hurriyet.com.tr/GaleriDetay.asp

    So this you call being "beaten up". Calling the experience these Israeli kids suffered while carrying out their now UN certified lawful duty of having a frenzied mob of 50 Turkish Army combat veterans raining death blows with steel pipes on their sculls followed by being stabbing as only being "beaten up" is the understatement of the week don't you think?

    And by the way Savage, yes the "UN" did already call the blockade illegal. But what part of the UN did that is the question. Why the UN Human Rights Council of course, that huge practical joke where the absolute worst human rights abusers on earth, such moral superior upstanding world citizens, such paragons of absolute virtue like Libya, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, China and Cuba get together and protect each other from any investigations while attacking Israel day in and day out.

    UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, former High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson, former Secretary General Kofi Annan, the European Union, Canada and the United States have all accused the UN Human Rights Council of having an anti-Israeli bias. For example, since the foundation of the UNHRC in 2006 through the year 2010 it had passed 51 resolutions in total, 40 of which were condemnations of Israel. So just because the UN Human Rights Council says the blockade of Gaza is illegal does not make it so.

  53. Talk all you want Mr. Savage, talk until the cows come home if you want.

    Nothing you can ever say will talk louder or more eloquently about what exactly happened on that ship than that photo I linked to above on the web site of the main Turkish newspaper showing the member of the first wave of the Israeli boarding party lying defenseless, bloody and stabbed with one Turkish hand clearly to be seen in the photo around his throat and another Turkish hand clearly seen in the bottom of the photo holding the large knife that did the stabbing.

    Here is the link to the photo again in case you missed it. It is certainly quite the photo, no? I particular admire the excellent work the photojournalist did under the circumstances in bringing the hunting knife the Israeli had just been stabbed with into such excellent and sharp focus.
    http://fotogaleri.hurriyet.com.tr/GaleriDetay.asp

    So this you call being "beaten up". Calling the experience these Israeli kids suffered while carrying out their now UN certified lawful duty of having a frenzied mob of 50 Turkish Army combat veterans raining death blows with steel pipes on their sculls followed by being stabbing as only being "beaten up" is the understatement of the week don't you think?

    And by the way Savage, yes the "UN" did already call the blockade illegal. But what part of the UN did that is the question. Why the UN Human Rights Council of course, that huge practical joke where the absolute worst human rights abusers on earth, such moral superior upstanding world citizens, such paragons of absolute virtue like Libya, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, China and Cuba get together and protect each other from any investigations while attacking Israel day in and day out.

    UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, former High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson, former Secretary General Kofi Annan, the European Union, Canada and the United States have all accused the UN Human Rights Council of having an anti-Israeli bias. For example, since the foundation of the UNHRC in 2006 through the year 2010 it had passed 51 resolutions in total, 40 of which were condemnations of Israel. So just because the UN Human Rights Council says the blockade of Gaza is illegal does not make it so.

  54. Palmer inquiry’s a whitewash of Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza.

    The UN itself has characterized the blockade as illegal.

    & yes, the UN has also described Israel as the occupier of Gaza.

    Israel was also the illegal occupier of the Turkish aid ship, the Mavi Marmara, when her commandos boarded her.

    Israel was responsible for the safety of the ship’s passengers.

    9 Turkish civilians were massacred by the Israeli commandos on the Mavi Marmara.

    An act of multiple murder of foreign volunteers UNPRECEDENTED in history, a CLEAR VIOLATION OF INTERNATIONAL LAW & INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW.

    No way to “justify” this.

    No way to construct, as Judonimh does, a flimsy & circumstantial case where the heavily armed commandes can be shown to be acting in “self defense” against the overpowered civilian passengers.

    The Center for Constitutional Rights says :

    “The flotilla did not seek to travel to Israel, let alone “attack” Israel …”

    Craig Murray, head of the Maritime Section of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, & the chief enforcer of the maritime blockade of Iraq in the First Gulf War, says the right of free passage on the High Seas is guaranteed by the UN Convention on the Law of the Seas .

    Says Murray, ” Israel has declared a blockade on Gaza & justified previous fatal attacks on neutral civilian vessels on the High Seas …, under the legal cover given by the San Remo Manual of International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea.”

    But, says Murray, San Remo applies only to blockades in wartime.

    He points out, “Israel is currently NOT engaged in armed conflict … San Remo DOES NOT confer ANY right to impose a PERMANENT BLOCKADE … & in fact SPECIFICALLY EXCLUDES AS ILLEGAL A GENERAL BLOCKADE ON AN ENTIRE POPULATION.” (Emphases mine. )

  55. Judonimh does the same thing on any issue.

    Israel attacked the Mavi Marmara, you say ??

    No, it was the Mavi Marmara that attacked Israel’s commandos, he says.

    Israel blockades Gaza, you think ??

    No, it’s Hamas that blockades Gaza, he asserts.

    Do you know what the world believes ?

    The plain Truth.

    About ISRAEL’S blockade of Gaza.

    There’s a limit to how far lies work, apparently.

  56. Talk all you want Mr. Savage, talk until the cows come home if you want.

    Nothing you can ever say will talk louder or more eloquently about what exactly happened on that ship than that photo I linked to above on the web site of the main Turkish newspaper showing the member of the first wave of the Israeli boarding party lying defenseless, bloody and stabbed with one Turkish hand clearly to be seen in the photo around his throat and another Turkish hand clearly seen in the bottom of the photo holding the large knife that did the stabbing.

    Here is the link to the photo again in case you missed it. It is certainly quite the photo, no? I particular admire the excellent work the photojournalist did under the circumstances in bringing the hunting knife the Israeli had just been stabbed with into such excellent and sharp focus.

    http://fotogaleri.hurriyet.com.tr/GaleriDetay.aspx?cid=36575&p=1&rid=2

    So this you call being “beaten up”. Calling the experience these Israeli kids suffered while carrying out their now UN certified lawful duty of having a frenzied mob of 50 Turkish Army combat veterans raining death blows with steel pipes on their sculls followed by being stabbing as only being “beaten up” is the understatement of the week don’t you think?

    And by the way Savage, yes the “UN” did already call the blockade illegal. But what part of the UN did that is the question. Why the UN Human Rights Council of course, that huge practical joke where the absolute worst human rights abusers on earth, such moral superior upstanding world citizens, such paragons of absolute virtue like Libya, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, China and Cuba get together and protect each other from any investigations while attacking Israel day in and day out.

    UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, former High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson, former Secretary General Kofi Annan, the European Union, Canada and the United States have all accused the UN Human Rights Council of having an anti-Israeli bias. For example, since the foundation of the UNHRC in 2006 through the year 2010 it had passed 51 resolutions in total, 40 of which were condemnations of Israel. So just because the UN Human Rights Council says the blockade of Gaza is illegal does not make it so.

  57. WHICH do you believe ?

    A ) The psywar ops propaganda Israel gave out, that the aid workers on the Mavi Marmara attacked the Israeli soldiers with LIVE FIRE ??

    ( Later the "live fire" part was dropped … too improbable !! … & the attack weapons were switched to "knives & clubs" only.)

    B ) Or the aid workers all testifying the commandos opened fire AS SOON AS they boarded the ship, firing live ammunition ??

    ( The commandos were on a trademark Israeli blitzkrieg operation, PREPLANNED & with PREDETERMINED parameters & orders, acting out the Israeli OVERWHELMING ( DISPROPORTIONATE ) FORCE scenario.

    *******************

    WHOM do you believe ??

    The aid volunteeers, whom had no previous records of armed conflict ??

    Or the Israeli military, which attacked the American ship, the USS Liberty, & slaughtered many US personnel in a TOTALLY UNPROVOKED attack … plus a record of serial attacks on neutral civilian ships on the High Seas ???

    *************

    WHOM do you believe ?

    The soldiers whom were armed to the teeth, with support helicopters flying overhead ?

    Or the aid workers CARRYING 10, 000 TONNES OF MEDICAL & OTHER HUMANITARIAN AID … elderly, male & female individuals, UNTRAINED for combat, taken by SURPRISE, overpowered, & taken HOSTAGE as they flew up a white flag ??

    So WHOM do you believe ??

    Or would you believe only the dead … all of them , unsurprisingly, aid workers, both young & old, with the fatal bullet wounds ON THE BACKS of their bodies, which is strange if they had been killed while supposedly "attacking" the commandos ??

    Would you believe their wounds ?

  58. Israel has never apologized for ANY of her unprovoked attacks on neutral shipping.

    Why SHOULD she ??

    When she has never apologized for attacking EVEN the USS Liberty itself ??

    In fact, has never even been asked to !!

    Israel acts with FULL IMPUNITY !

    & her own ship of state is getting heavier by the hour with her acts.

  59. Israel justifies ITS blockade of Gaza by pointing at the rockets fired by the besieged at "innocent civilians" — the settlers in the Occupied Territories.

    Let's address this point.

    Hamas isn't sovereign in this scenario.

    Israel has SUPREME AUTHORITY over Gaza … can do ANYTHING it likes, kill or gut any areas, buildings, families it likes.

    Gazans have no say in this decision making about their lives & deaths.

    At the same time, the settlers in the Occupied Territories are in this conflict AGAINST them.

    Settlers are not "innocents" if by "innocent" you mean "neutral".

    Expansionist Israel's exploding SETTLEMENT CONSTRUCTION is a declaration of WAR & a sentence of DEATH against the Palestinian population & any apossibility of a future state for it.

    The "innocent" settlers are heavily & OPENLY armed, plus protected & TRAINED IN ARMS by the Israeli Army — they are ultra – orthodox thugs whom attack Palestinians & continue the Army's policy of expelling the Palestinians from their lands & clear those for the settlement & enjoyment of Jews only.

    Palestinians & Palestine face a mortal threat from the settlers & the endless & fast settlement expansions.

    Palestine is a fast shrinking cluster of Bantustans …. fragmented islands in the raging, rising tide of white settlers.

    But the land IS Palestine … & Israel & the "innocent" settlers ARE the AGGRESSORS here.

    The aggressor has no moral or legal right to violence. That right belongs to the victims …. & their organizations, THEIR governments.

    Palestinians have no choice in such a scenario. Their rockets cannot distinguish between civilian & military targets, which in their case actually means the same ENCROACHING side , the same INDIVISIBLE force arrayed against them.

    If your lands were SIMILARLY occupied & your lives SIMILARLY threatened, you'd face the same lack of alternative in any path but that of resistance & self defense by all your own means.

    Want peace ?

    Withdraw the settlements.

  60. Savage:

    Oh my god could you please open a newspaper or map at least before you post !!

    The rockets are being fired are short range, 10 or 15 km maximum.
    They mainly land on the town of Sderot next to the border with Gaza and a few heavier rockets make it all the way to Ashkelon and Beer Sheva.

    These towns and cities are all 100% civilian and all are inside 1948 Israel.

    Good to know that a person like you who thinks their opinion is a valuable voice to add to a web site of Amnesty International is so openly happy about a war crime being committed on Israeli women and children.

    But according to you as long as they are Jews they are not human anyways so these Israeli women and children getting hit by these rockets don't have human rights in the first place, am I correct in understanding your opinion ?

  61. Israelis in INCREASING numbers are getting SICK of Israel's RIGHTWING / SETTLER / MILITARY COMPLEX ( which Judonimh keeps speaking for here ).

    Israelis want PEACE…. & the Right / settler / army complex wants anything BUT.

    For peace means WITHDRAWING THE SETTLEMENTS & RECOGNIZING Palestine.

    Peace means FUNDAMENTAL CHANGES in the Israeli POLITICO – MILITARY ESTABLISHMENT … which the PRESENT power holders like Netanyahu & the Rightist parties are naturally DEAD AGAINST.

    Israel's recent mass movement shows Israelis want their state & its resources to FOCUS ON BURNING SOCIAL PROBLEMS, the housing issue, unemployment, many neglected questions …. not on the endless settlement expansions & the consequent conflicts.

    The government's & Netanyahu's FAILURES in addressing these critical issues is the reason why the present Israeli status quo wants settlements, Occupation, war & the Gaza blockade …. to divert attention away from the system's failures, & to preserve this status quo favoring them.

    Israelis are on to this game ….. most of them saw Netanyahu's recent strikes on Gaza in this light, as an opportunity for him to draw attention away from the problems amassing under his rule, the problems the Israeli mass movement has strikingly highlighted.

    Hamas' ceasefire offers in the past have been answered by military strikes by Israel for this reason alone… to keep the status quo where it's at.

    The blockade continues for the same reason…. not because of rockets or suicide bombers, whose specter Judonimh keeps bringing up.

    When was the last suicide bomber ?? What year ??

    It's the use of the fear card by the Right…. to stay on in power.

    The settlers also play this card … to stay on in their settlements.

    It's not just the Palestinians anymore.

    Israeli society itself is feeling asphyxiated by Zionism's Right/ settler / Army complex.

  62. The rockets can't distinguish between targets…. & they are the last remaining weapons of the besieged whom Israel kills at its pleasure.

    Stop the blockade…. which is a weapon of war.

    Stop the settlements…. which is a weapon of war.

    Stop the missile strikes…. which are weapons of war.

    End the Occupation…. which is a weapon of war & military conquest.

    Recognize Palestine.

    & peace will come.

    But Israel won't do any of these things.

    As long as the Right / /settler / military complex rules supreme.

    For the moment.

  63. Expansionist Israel's DISPROPORTIONATE power has blinded it to the ACTUAL proportion of its OWN crimes, as felt by growing regions of the earth encompassing more, & more distant, peoples.

    Closer, the children of the Naqba don't see the lines the Catastrophe burned upon their land.

    They only see the land, entire … & all of it their own.

  64. WHICH do you believe ?

    A ) The psywar ops propaganda Israel gave out, that the aid workers on the Mavi Marmara attacked the Israeli soldiers with LIVE FIRE ??

    ( Later the “live fire” part was dropped … too improbable !! … & the attack weapons were switched to “knives & clubs” only.)

    B ) Or the aid workers all testifying the commandos opened fire AS SOON AS they boarded the ship, firing live ammunition ??

    ( The commandos were on a trademark Israeli blitzkrieg operation, PREPLANNED & with PREDETERMINED parameters & orders, acting out the Israeli OVERWHELMING ( DISPROPORTIONATE ) FORCE scenario.

    *******************

    WHOM do you believe ??

    The aid volunteeers, whom had no previous records of armed conflict ??

    Or the Israeli military, which attacked the American ship, the USS Liberty, & slaughtered many US personnel in a TOTALLY UNPROVOKED attack … plus a record of serial attacks on neutral civilian ships on the High Seas ???

    *************

    WHOM do you believe ?

    The soldiers whom were armed to the teeth, with support helicopters flying overhead ?

    Or the aid workers CARRYING 10, 000 TONNES OF MEDICAL & OTHER HUMANITARIAN AID … elderly, male & female individuals, UNTRAINED for combat, taken by SURPRISE, overpowered, & taken HOSTAGE as they flew up a white flag ??

    So WHOM do you believe ??

    Or would you believe only the dead … all of them , unsurprisingly, aid workers, both young & old, with the fatal bullet wounds ON THE BACKS of their bodies, which is strange if they had been killed while supposedly “attacking” the commandos ??

    Would you believe their wounds ?

  65. Israel has never apologized for ANY of her unprovoked attacks on neutral shipping.

    Why SHOULD she ??

    When she has never apologized for attacking EVEN the USS Liberty itself ??

    In fact, has never even been asked to !!

    Israel acts with FULL IMPUNITY !

    & her own ship of state is getting heavier by the hour with her acts.

  66. Israel justifies ITS blockade of Gaza by pointing at the rockets fired by the besieged at “innocent civilians” — the settlers in the Occupied Territories.

    Let’s address this point.

    Hamas isn’t sovereign in this scenario.

    Israel has SUPREME AUTHORITY over Gaza … can do ANYTHING it likes, kill or gut any areas, buildings, families it likes.

    Gazans have no say in this decision making about their lives & deaths.

    At the same time, the settlers in the Occupied Territories are in this conflict AGAINST them.

    Settlers are not “innocents” if by “innocent” you mean “neutral”.

    Expansionist Israel’s exploding SETTLEMENT CONSTRUCTION is a declaration of WAR & a sentence of DEATH against the Palestinian population & any apossibility of a future state for it.

    The “innocent” settlers are heavily & OPENLY armed, plus protected & TRAINED IN ARMS by the Israeli Army — they are ultra – orthodox thugs whom attack Palestinians & continue the Army’s policy of expelling the Palestinians from their lands & clear those for the settlement & enjoyment of Jews only.

    Palestinians & Palestine face a mortal threat from the settlers & the endless & fast settlement expansions.

    Palestine is a fast shrinking cluster of Bantustans …. fragmented islands in the raging, rising tide of white settlers.

    But the land IS Palestine … & Israel & the “innocent” settlers ARE the AGGRESSORS here.

    The aggressor has no moral or legal right to violence. That right belongs to the victims …. & their organizations, THEIR governments.

    Palestinians have no choice in such a scenario. Their rockets cannot distinguish between civilian & military targets, which in their case actually means the same ENCROACHING side , the same INDIVISIBLE force arrayed against them.

    If your lands were SIMILARLY occupied & your lives SIMILARLY threatened, you’d face the same lack of alternative in any path but that of resistance & self defense by all your own means.

    Want peace ?

    Withdraw the settlements.

  67. Savage:

    Oh my god could you please open a newspaper or map at least before you post !!

    The rockets are being fired are short range, 10 or 15 km maximum.
    They mainly land on the town of Sderot next to the border with Gaza and a few heavier rockets make it all the way to Ashkelon and Beer Sheva.

    These towns and cities are all 100% civilian and all are inside 1948 Israel.

    Good to know that a person like you who thinks their opinion is a valuable voice to add to a web site of Amnesty International is so openly happy about a war crime being committed on Israeli women and children.

    But according to you as long as they are Jews they are not human anyways so these Israeli women and children getting hit by these rockets don’t have human rights in the first place, am I correct in understanding your opinion ?

  68. Israelis in INCREASING numbers are getting SICK of Israel’s RIGHTWING / SETTLER / MILITARY COMPLEX ( which Judonimh keeps speaking for here ).

    Israelis want PEACE…. & the Right / settler / army complex wants anything BUT.

    For peace means WITHDRAWING THE SETTLEMENTS & RECOGNIZING Palestine.

    Peace means FUNDAMENTAL CHANGES in the Israeli POLITICO – MILITARY ESTABLISHMENT … which the PRESENT power holders like Netanyahu & the Rightist parties are naturally DEAD AGAINST.

    Israel’s recent mass movement shows Israelis want their state & its resources to FOCUS ON BURNING SOCIAL PROBLEMS, the housing issue, unemployment, many neglected questions …. not on the endless settlement expansions & the consequent conflicts.

    The government’s & Netanyahu’s FAILURES in addressing these critical issues is the reason why the present Israeli status quo wants settlements, Occupation, war & the Gaza blockade …. to divert attention away from the system’s failures, & to preserve this status quo favoring them.

    Israelis are on to this game ….. most of them saw Netanyahu’s recent strikes on Gaza in this light, as an opportunity for him to draw attention away from the problems amassing under his rule, the problems the Israeli mass movement has strikingly highlighted.

    Hamas’ ceasefire offers in the past have been answered by military strikes by Israel for this reason alone… to keep the status quo where it’s at.

    The blockade continues for the same reason…. not because of rockets or suicide bombers, whose specter Judonimh keeps bringing up.

    When was the last suicide bomber ?? What year ??

    It’s the use of the fear card by the Right…. to stay on in power.

    The settlers also play this card … to stay on in their settlements.

    It’s not just the Palestinians anymore.

    Israeli society itself is feeling asphyxiated by Zionism’s Right/ settler / Army complex.

  69. The rockets can’t distinguish between targets…. & they are the last remaining weapons of the besieged whom Israel kills at its pleasure.

    Stop the blockade…. which is a weapon of war.

    Stop the settlements…. which is a weapon of war.

    Stop the missile strikes…. which are weapons of war.

    End the Occupation…. which is a weapon of war & military conquest.

    Recognize Palestine.

    & peace will come.

    But Israel won’t do any of these things.

    As long as the Right / /settler / military complex rules supreme.

    For the moment.

  70. Expansionist Israel’s DISPROPORTIONATE power has blinded it to the ACTUAL proportion of its OWN crimes, as felt by growing regions of the earth encompassing more, & more distant, peoples.

    Closer, the children of the Naqba don’t see the lines the Catastrophe burned upon their land.

    They only see the land, entire … & all of it their own.

  71. Dear Ari,

    I believe that the headline of the article is responsive to your comment that you believe the article was written in a confusing way: "Palmer Report Did Not Find Gaza Blockade Legal, Despite Media Headlines." The article explains that media headlines have misrepresented the contents of the report.

    Further, I do not think that your critique of Amnesty — that the organization does not provide comprehensive explanations — is a fair one to the extent that it is based on this one blog-post. Amnesty provides information in a variety of ways. Have you tried to contact them to request additional information or searched their website generally?

  72. Teddy,
    Thanks for your thoughts. I've actually been a member of Amnesty International USA for almost twenty years. In the past, I served as a member of the Nominating Committee of the Board of Directors and even ran for a seat on the Board myself once. My argument is not that Amnesty fails to provide comprehensive explanations; it is that this particular blog post was misleading or confusing and that Amnesty ought to do better, given its reputation.
    The headling of this blog post makes an argument that isn't particularly well explained in the post itself; the author wants to suggest that the media *ought* to have focused on the parts of the Gaza blockade which are not related to the naval blockade because the author suggests that the report did not rule these parts of the blockade to be lawful. But the various media sources were writing about the Palmer Report, and thus were focused on the naval element of the blockade … which *was* ruled lawful. Perhaps the UN needs to issue a report on the non-naval elements of the blockade; if it did, this would get extensive media coverage and, I presume, that author of the blog post would either be happy or unhappy, depending on whether or not that hypothetical report ruled against Israel's blockade. But this blog post criticizes the media for failing to report on something that isn't really at issue in the news item that attracted the media's attention. People reading the Palmer Report are looking for information on the naval blockade (which resulted in the flotilla and then the raid on the flotilla); they read that the naval blockade is ruled lawful. This is all straightforward, but the blog post's author suggests that people are being misled. My sense is that what the author wanted was for the media to suggest that the *rest* of the blockade *isn't* lawful … but that's not what the Palmer Report dealt with and so it's not something to expect from the media.

  73. Dear Ari,

    I believe that the headline of the article is responsive to your comment that you believe the article was written in a confusing way: “Palmer Report Did Not Find Gaza Blockade Legal, Despite Media Headlines.” The article explains that media headlines have misrepresented the contents of the report.

    Further, I do not think that your critique of Amnesty — that the organization does not provide comprehensive explanations — is a fair one to the extent that it is based on this one blog-post. Amnesty provides information in a variety of ways. Have you tried to contact them to request additional information or searched their website generally?

  74. Teddy,
    Thanks for your thoughts. I’ve actually been a member of Amnesty International USA for almost twenty years. In the past, I served as a member of the Nominating Committee of the Board of Directors and even ran for a seat on the Board myself once. My argument is not that Amnesty fails to provide comprehensive explanations; it is that this particular blog post was misleading or confusing and that Amnesty ought to do better, given its reputation.
    The headling of this blog post makes an argument that isn’t particularly well explained in the post itself; the author wants to suggest that the media *ought* to have focused on the parts of the Gaza blockade which are not related to the naval blockade because the author suggests that the report did not rule these parts of the blockade to be lawful. But the various media sources were writing about the Palmer Report, and thus were focused on the naval element of the blockade … which *was* ruled lawful. Perhaps the UN needs to issue a report on the non-naval elements of the blockade; if it did, this would get extensive media coverage and, I presume, that author of the blog post would either be happy or unhappy, depending on whether or not that hypothetical report ruled against Israel’s blockade. But this blog post criticizes the media for failing to report on something that isn’t really at issue in the news item that attracted the media’s attention. People reading the Palmer Report are looking for information on the naval blockade (which resulted in the flotilla and then the raid on the flotilla); they read that the naval blockade is ruled lawful. This is all straightforward, but the blog post’s author suggests that people are being misled. My sense is that what the author wanted was for the media to suggest that the *rest* of the blockade *isn’t* lawful … but that’s not what the Palmer Report dealt with and so it’s not something to expect from the media.

  75. Ari – No, the post was not trying to say "media *ought* to have focused on the parts of the Gaza blockade which are not related to the naval blockade".

    The headline states, 'Palmer report did not find Gaza blockade legal, despite media headlines' and inside the post, I state, “The Palmer report’s finding that the naval blockade is lawful should NOT be interpreted to mean that the entire closure regime imposed by Israel on the Gaza Strip is legal.”

    That's it. Yes, Israel's 'naval blockade' was found legal, but this is not the same as saying that Israel's entire blockade or closure regime on the strip is legal, yet that is basically what these headlines were implying. I thought this was a major point that should be clarified.

    Just wanted to respond because it appears you've read quite a bit into the post that is simply not there.

    Since this is an Amnesty USA blog, I did want to state Amnesty's position: that the entire closure regime or 'blockade' is illegal because it is collective punishment which contravenes international law.

  76. Ari –

    Amnesty International did not address that specific point in their public statement that was issued September 2, 2011 concerning the Palmer Commission findings. You can read the entire statement at http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE15/030

    The statement does make the following relevant statements about the entire closure regime or 'blockade' though:

    - Amnesty International has condemned the comprehensive closure regime imposed by Israel on the Gaza Strip since June 2007 as collective punishment, in violation of Israel’s obligations as an occupying power under international humanitarian law. The question of the legality of this closure regime, often referred to as the Gaza “blockade”, was not directly addressed by the
    Palmer report, which focused on the naval blockade of Gaza. The report does, however, note that the humanitarian situation in Gaza is “unsustainable”, and it calls on Israel to “continue with its efforts to ease its restrictions on movement of goods and persons to and from Gaza”

    - The Palmer report’s finding that the naval blockade is lawful should not be interpreted to mean that the entire closure regime imposed on Gaza is legal. As the occupying power in Gaza, Israel has an obligation to protect all those under its jurisdiction. Amnesty International has condemned the firing of indiscriminate rockets from Gaza into Israel as war crimes, and notes that Israel may take necessary and proportionate security measures against these attacks, including preventing weapons from entering the Gaza Strip. But it must also uphold Gazans’ rights, which have been systematically violated for more than four years by the comprehensive blockade.


    You might want to use the hyperlinks in the blog post to go to the Gisha website to explore the issue more. Gisha addresses the question of the naval blockade legal finding specifically; why it was found legal and why they believe it was an incorrect verdict.

  77. Edith:

    Question 1)

    The Palmer Commission concluded:

    “Israel faces a real threat to its security from militant groups in Gaza. The naval blockade was imposed as a legitimate security measure in order to prevent weapons from entering Gaza by sea and its implementation complied with the requirements of international law.”

    So the Naval blockade is legal for this reason.

    But this same exact circumstance also exists on the land and air borders of Gaza. And since it is legal for Israel to stop arms imports to Gaza by sea, does it not logically follow that it must similarly be legal for Israel to stop arms imports by air and land?

    Question 2)

    UN Security Council resolution 1860 (2009) specifically called for **all** border crossings, which would include the Egypt / Gaza crossing at Rafa, to be reopened and calls on **all** countries, which again would include Egypt, to facilitate the unimpeded provision and distribution throughout Gaza of humanitarian assistance, including of food, fuel and medicine; and calls on **all** countries, including Egypt, to support international efforts to alleviate the humanitarian and economic situation in Gaza.

    So in light of UNSC 1860, how can you make the claim you made above that Egypt is under no obligation what so ever to stop its currently in force outrageous and sickening policy of blockading, unlike Israel, all humanitarian imports, food, fuel, medicine etc. into Gaza over Rafa border crossing. Even worse Egypt blockades all exports from Gaza, and exports are the one thing economists have stated the Gazan economy most needs in order to improve its situation, reduce unemployment and stop its reliance of humanitarian aid.

    Egypt is in violation of UNSC 1860 by blockading humanitarian import and commercial export between Gaza and Egypt over the Rafa crossing, are they not?

  78. Ari –

    Amnesty International did not address that specific point in their public statement that was issued September 2, 2011 concerning the Palmer Commission findings. You can read the entire statement at http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE15/030

    The statement does make the following relevant statements about the entire closure regime or 'blockade' though:

    - Amnesty International has condemned the comprehensive closure regime imposed by Israel on the Gaza Strip since June 2007 as collective punishment, in violation of Israel’s obligations as an occupying power under international humanitarian law. The question of the legality of this closure regime, often referred to as the Gaza “blockade”, was not directly addressed by the
    Palmer report, which focused on the naval blockade of Gaza. The report does, however, note that the humanitarian situation in Gaza is “unsustainable”, and it calls on Israel to “continue with its efforts to ease its restrictions on movement of goods and persons to and from Gaza”

    - The Palmer report’s finding that the naval blockade is lawful should not be interpreted to mean that the entire closure regime imposed on Gaza is legal. As the occupying power in Gaza, Israel has an obligation to protect all those under its jurisdiction. Amnesty International has condemned the firing of indiscriminate rockets from Gaza into Israel as war crimes, and notes that Israel may take necessary and proportionate security measures against these attacks, including preventing weapons from entering the Gaza Strip. But it must also uphold Gazans’ rights, which have been systematically violated for more than four years by the comprehensive blockade.


    You might want to use the hyperlinks in the blog post to go to the Gisha website to explore the issue more. Gisha addresses the question of the naval blockade legal finding specifically; why it was found legal and why they believe it was an incorrect verdict.

  79. Ari –

    Amnesty International did not address that specific point in their public statement that was issued September 2, 2011 concerning the Palmer Commission findings. You can read the entire statement at http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE15/030

    The statement does make the following relevant statements about the entire closure regime or 'blockade' though:

    - Amnesty International has condemned the comprehensive closure regime imposed by Israel on the Gaza Strip since June 2007 as collective punishment, in violation of Israel’s obligations as an occupying power under international humanitarian law. The question of the legality of this closure regime, often referred to as the Gaza “blockade”, was not directly addressed by the
    Palmer report, which focused on the naval blockade of Gaza. The report does, however, note that the humanitarian situation in Gaza is “unsustainable”, and it calls on Israel to “continue with its efforts to ease its restrictions on movement of goods and persons to and from Gaza”

    - The Palmer report’s finding that the naval blockade is lawful should not be interpreted to mean that the entire closure regime imposed on Gaza is legal. As the occupying power in Gaza, Israel has an obligation to protect all those under its jurisdiction. Amnesty International has condemned the firing of indiscriminate rockets from Gaza into Israel as war crimes, and notes that Israel may take necessary and proportionate security measures against these attacks, including preventing weapons from entering the Gaza Strip. But it must also uphold Gazans’ rights, which have been systematically violated for more than four years by the comprehensive blockade.


    You might want to use the hyperlinks in the blog post to go to the Gisha website to explore the issue more. Gisha addresses the question of the naval blockade legal finding specifically; why it was found legal and why they believe it was an incorrect verdict.

  80. Thank you, this is helpful. From the sound of things, Amnesty International does not dispute the findings of the Palmer Report, though some of its members and bloggers would like for us to read what other organizations (who *do* dispute the findings) are saying.

  81. Ari – No, the post was not trying to say “media *ought* to have focused on the parts of the Gaza blockade which are not related to the naval blockade”.

    The headline states, ‘Palmer report did not find Gaza blockade legal, despite media headlines’ and inside the post, I state, “The Palmer report’s finding that the naval blockade is lawful should NOT be interpreted to mean that the entire closure regime imposed by Israel on the Gaza Strip is legal.”

    That’s it. Yes, Israel’s ‘naval blockade’ was found legal, but this is not the same as saying that Israel’s entire blockade or closure regime on the strip is legal, yet that is basically what these headlines were implying. I thought this was a major point that should be clarified.

    Just wanted to respond because it appears you’ve read quite a bit into the post that is simply not there.

    Since this is an Amnesty USA blog, I did want to state Amnesty’s position: that the entire closure regime or ‘blockade’ is illegal because it is collective punishment which contravenes international law.

  82. Is that to say, then, that Amnesty International’s position is that the United Nations was incorrect in its report on the naval blockade?

  83. Edith:

    Question 1)

    The Palmer Commission concluded:

    “Israel faces a real threat to its security from militant groups in Gaza. The naval blockade was imposed as a legitimate security measure in order to prevent weapons from entering Gaza by sea and its implementation complied with the requirements of international law.”

    So the Naval blockade is legal for this reason.

    But this same exact circumstance also exists on the land and air borders of Gaza. And since it is legal for Israel to stop arms imports to Gaza by sea, does it not logically follow that it must similarly be legal for Israel to stop arms imports by air and land?

    Question 2)

    UN Security Council resolution 1860 (2009) specifically called for **all** border crossings, which would include the Egypt / Gaza crossing at Rafa, to be reopened and calls on **all** countries, which again would include Egypt, to facilitate the unimpeded provision and distribution throughout Gaza of humanitarian assistance, including of food, fuel and medicine; and calls on **all** countries, including Egypt, to support international efforts to alleviate the humanitarian and economic situation in Gaza.

    So in light of UNSC 1860, how can you make the claim you made above that Egypt is under no obligation what so ever to stop its currently in force outrageous and sickening policy of blockading, unlike Israel, all humanitarian imports, food, fuel, medicine etc. into Gaza over Rafa border crossing. Even worse Egypt blockades all exports from Gaza, and exports are the one thing economists have stated the Gazan economy most needs in order to improve its situation, reduce unemployment and stop its reliance of humanitarian aid.

    Egypt is in violation of UNSC 1860 by blockading humanitarian import and commercial export between Gaza and Egypt over the Rafa crossing, are they not?

  84. No international law requires an occupier to let trade or people past its own land borders. That is being generous to the silly claim that Israel occupies Gaza by controlling airspace and water. No country with a no fly zone has ever been considered occupied, neither has any country that imports water been considered occupied.

    This is one of those "just for Israel" legal arguments. In American that's called "discrimination", something that is very, very contrary to international law.

  85. Ari -

    Amnesty International did not address that specific point in their public statement that was issued September 2, 2011 concerning the Palmer Commission findings. You can read the entire statement at http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE15/030/2011/en/8ed0851c-079e-480e-a8cb-7238d7330b25/mde150302011en.pdf

    The statement does make the following relevant statements about the entire closure regime or ‘blockade’ though:

    - Amnesty International has condemned the comprehensive closure regime imposed by Israel on the Gaza Strip since June 2007 as collective punishment, in violation of Israel’s obligations as an occupying power under international humanitarian law. The question of the legality of this closure regime, often referred to as the Gaza “blockade”, was not directly addressed by the
    Palmer report, which focused on the naval blockade of Gaza. The report does, however, note that the humanitarian situation in Gaza is “unsustainable”, and it calls on Israel to “continue with its efforts to ease its restrictions on movement of goods and persons to and from Gaza”

    - The Palmer report’s finding that the naval blockade is lawful should not be interpreted to mean that the entire closure regime imposed on Gaza is legal. As the occupying power in Gaza, Israel has an obligation to protect all those under its jurisdiction. Amnesty International has condemned the firing of indiscriminate rockets from Gaza into Israel as war crimes, and notes that Israel may take necessary and proportionate security measures against these attacks, including preventing weapons from entering the Gaza Strip. But it must also uphold Gazans’ rights, which have been systematically violated for more than four years by the comprehensive blockade.


    You might want to use the hyperlinks in the blog post to go to the Gisha website to explore the issue more. Gisha addresses the question of the naval blockade legal finding specifically; why it was found legal and why they believe it was an incorrect verdict.

  86. Thank you, this is helpful. From the sound of things, Amnesty International does not dispute the findings of the Palmer Report, though some of its members and bloggers would like for us to read what other organizations (who *do* dispute the findings) are saying.

  87. No international law requires an occupier to let trade or people past its own land borders. That is being generous to the silly claim that Israel occupies Gaza by controlling airspace and water. No country with a no fly zone has ever been considered occupied, neither has any country that imports water been considered occupied.

    This is one of those “just for Israel” legal arguments. In American that’s called “discrimination”, something that is very, very contrary to international law.

  88. Edith, I would like an answer please to my question I posed above.

    Is it Amnesty's policy then that the provisions of UN Security Council resolution 1860 demanding all border crossings into Gaza be reopened "for Unimpeded Humanitarian Assistance", that this UN resolution does **not** apply to Egypt's Rafa crossing into Gaza?

    Egypt has for 5 years imposed a complete blockade on all humanitarian aid at its border crossing Rafa into Gaza, and only allows a lucky few selected pedestrians to cross each day, but absolutely no aid or cargo of any kind in apparent direct violation of UNSC resolution 1860.

    Compare this to Israel. According to the UN and Red Cross Israel fully cooperates with the movement of any and all humanitarian aid anyone in the world would like to send into Gaza over its border crossing at Kerem Shalom.

    So please kindly answer my question re: the obligations Amnesty International places on Egypt to reopen Rafa border to humanitarian aid in accordance with the demands of UN Security Council Resolution 1860.

    thanks

  89. Edith, I would like an answer please to my question I posed above.

    Is it Amnesty’s policy then that the provisions of UN Security Council resolution 1860 demanding all border crossings into Gaza be reopened “for Unimpeded Humanitarian Assistance”, that this UN resolution does **not** apply to Egypt’s Rafa crossing into Gaza?

    Egypt has for 5 years imposed a complete blockade on all humanitarian aid at its border crossing Rafa into Gaza, and only allows a lucky few selected pedestrians to cross each day, but absolutely no aid or cargo of any kind in apparent direct violation of UNSC resolution 1860.

    Compare this to Israel. According to the UN and Red Cross Israel fully cooperates with the movement of any and all humanitarian aid anyone in the world would like to send into Gaza over its border crossing at Kerem Shalom.

    So please kindly answer my question re: the obligations Amnesty International places on Egypt to reopen Rafa border to humanitarian aid in accordance with the demands of UN Security Council Resolution 1860.

    thanks

  90. to free_palestine:

    Thank you for posting your "Warm wishes from occupied Palestine".

    I think is just great that Israel is a democracy with freedom of speech rivaling or exceeding freedoms available in the US or western Europe, and so therfore you can freely post anti-Israeli comments like the one you did above from inside Israel without the slightest fear of retaliation.

    How unlike Israel with it's democratic freedoms is to the situation in any other middle eastern country, for example Saudi Arabia, Iran, etc. where all Internet traffic, every byte, into and out of those country is recorded and spied on. I understand now even supposed democracy Turkey is doing this.

    If you were crazy enough to, from inside Iran, post an anti Iranian government message to a blog like this, your post would have been monitored, your IP address logged and you would have been hunted down like an animal and taken to Evin Prison in Tehran, to be brutally interrogated, raped and tortured to death.

    Just like has been done to so many thousands of peaceful Iranian anti-government activists over the past few years, often for nothing more than posting comments to a blog just like you have done here.

    So once again thank heavens for your sake you chose to post an anti Israeli government message from inside Israel, a country with absolute respect for free speech and human rights.

  91. to free_palestine:

    Thank you for posting your “Warm wishes from occupied Palestine”.

    I think is just great that Israel is a democracy with freedom of speech rivaling or exceeding freedoms available in the US or western Europe, and so therfore you can freely post anti-Israeli comments like the one you did above from inside Israel without the slightest fear of retaliation.

    How unlike Israel with it’s democratic freedoms is to the situation in any other middle eastern country, for example Saudi Arabia, Iran, etc. where all Internet traffic, every byte, into and out of those country is recorded and spied on. I understand now even supposed democracy Turkey is doing this.

    If you were crazy enough to, from inside Iran, post an anti Iranian government message to a blog like this, your post would have been monitored, your IP address logged and you would have been hunted down like an animal and taken to Evin Prison in Tehran, to be brutally interrogated, raped and tortured to death.

    Just like has been done to so many thousands of peaceful Iranian anti-government activists over the past few years, often for nothing more than posting comments to a blog just like you have done here.

    So once again thank heavens for your sake you chose to post an anti Israeli government message from inside Israel, a country with absolute respect for free speech and human rights.

  92. One significant mistake the author makes: The Palmer Report's conclusion that the blockade is legal has nothing to do with the rights of an "occupying power." To the contrary, the Palmer Report specifically said it viewed the situation as an international conflict. The rights upon which the report based its conclusion are the generally applicable rights of a nation to blockade its opponent in war.

  93. One significant mistake the author makes: The Palmer Report’s conclusion that the blockade is legal has nothing to do with the rights of an “occupying power.” To the contrary, the Palmer Report specifically said it viewed the situation as an international conflict. The rights upon which the report based its conclusion are the generally applicable rights of a nation to blockade its opponent in war.