Bad decisions in flotilla raid, says Israeli military panel
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.”