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The conclusion of the Turkel Commission that Israel acted within international law and in self-defence during a deadly raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla of aid ships last May ignores substantial proof that Israel fabricated or tampered with evidence, charges the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza (ECESG).
A study sponsored in October by the International Bureau of Humanitarian NGOs (IBH) and the Friends of Charities Association (FOCA) found “multiple instances of Israeli officials creating false evidence to implement and bolster the government’s version of events. The Israel government also went to great lengths to prevent survivors from discussing the attack or proving their version of the event” by confiscating their film, computers, etc.
“It seems clear that the Turkel Commission relied primarily on evidence supplied by Israel,” said Mazn Kahel, director of the ECESG. “Yet, the FOCA report documented numerous instances of falsification, including manufactured imagery. All traceable efforts to obscure the details of the attack originated from within Israel and its champions. How can the commission’s conclusions be anything but highly suspect?”
The ECESG insists that only an independent commission – not one led by a retired Israeli Supereme Court judge – that examines all evidence, including the testimonies of the flotilla passengers, can conduct a proper investigation of the Israel Defense Force attack May 31 on six ships in international waters. Nine people on board the Mavi Marmara flotilla ship were killed, and many others injured.
The ECESG will participate in a second large flotilla due to set sail for Gaza in the spring. “Israel’s actions in the past and its threats regarding the future won’t deter us,” said Mr. Kahel. “We will not stop until Israel’s siege of Gaza ends and the 1.5 million people regain their freedom.”
The European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza (ECESG) is an umbrella group of 34 European human rights and humanitarian organisations that have come together to collectively pressure the international community and Israel to end the siege on Gaza’s civilian population.