Bad de­ci­sions in flotilla raid, says Is­raeli mil­i­tary panel

Austin American-Statesman - - TUESDAYBRIEFING -

TEL AVIV, Is­rael — An Is­raeli mil­i­tary in­quiry has blamed faulty plan­ning, in­tel­li­gence and de­ci­sion-mak­ing by of­fi­cers for a deadly com­mando raid on aid ships try­ing to breach the coun­try’s block­ade of the Gaza Strip.

“There were mis­takes in var­i­ous de­ci­sions made, in­clud­ing at rel­a­tively se­nior ranks, that ended up in a re­sult we didn’t an­tic­i­pate,” Re­serve Maj. Gen. Giora Eiland said Mon­day in Tel Aviv. Most of the in­quiry’s spe­cific rec­om­men­da­tions are clas­si­fied, Eiland said.

The re­port said the navy “re­lied ex­ces­sively on a sin­gle course of ac­tion” and un­der­es­ti­mated the level of vi­o­lence that the com­man­dos would face when they boarded the ships, ac­cord­ing to an e-mailed army state­ment.

Is­rael has faced in­ter­na­tional con­dem­na­tion for its May 31 raid on the flotilla of six ships sail­ing to­ward Gaza, in­clud­ing the Mavi Mar­mara, where nine Turk­ish ac­tivists were killed. Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu has ap­pointed a three-per­son panel, with two in­ter­na­tional ob­servers, to ex­am­ine whether Is­rael com­plied with in­ter­na­tional law in es­tab­lish­ing a block­ade of Gaza and raid­ing ships that tried to breach it.

The in­ci­dent se­verely strained Is­rael’s po­lit­i­cal and mil­i­tary re­la­tions with Turkey, once its clos­est ally in the Mid­dle East. Is­rael has re­jected re­quests for an in­ter­na­tional in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the in­ci­dent.

Eiland said that since more ships might try to breach the Gaza block­ade, “some of the things we learned in this event should be help­ful in the next event.”

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