Turkey said in its interim report about the Mavi Marmara attack which was submitted to the United Nations that it was essential to describe fully the physical and psychological setting just prior to the Israeli attack on the convoy.
The report reminded that the Israeli attack on the humanitarian aid convoy resulted in the killing of nine civilians in international waters.
"The humanitarian aid convoy was a peaceful mission of some six hundred civilians representing different faiths from different countries. Their aim was to provide much-needed aid to the people of Gaza. To correctly evaluate the legal situation of the events that transpired on 31 May 2010 in international waters, it is essential to describe fully the physical and psychological setting just prior to the Israeli attack on the convoy," it said.
"Focusing first on the Mavi Marmara, the passengers were all civilians. The facts show that the ship had no arms. On the other hand, the Israeli forces were made of very well trained special units and they were fully armed with the latest weaponry. As testified to by General Ashkenazy at the Turkey Commission, the forces had carefully planned and prepared the attack, including an exercise at sea on a ship similar to the Mavi Marmara," it said.
The report said, "beginning at 04:00 hours the Israeli attack began with psychological intimidation using all the panoply of warfare on a civilian convoy. The choice of hour, in the darkness, to stage an attack was purposeful intending to intimidate and instill fear and to avoid negative media exposure. The excessive military force used included Black Hawk helicopters, warships, submarines, zodiac boats, highly trained units armed with machine guns, grenades, which attacked the convoy during the early hours, before daylight, without any warning. Also, by jamming the ship's satellite communication the safety of life at seas of 600 passengers was jeopardized."
"Israel cannot provoke a volatile situation, where it is foreseeable that resistance is likely to occur and later rely on it as a legal justification to kill and injure civilians. The conduct of the Israeli soldiers was excessive, brutal and pre-meditated, not aimed at de-escalating the heightened atmosphere of fear, panic and resistance. Based on their training and experience, the Israeli soldiers should have abided by different and higher standards of conduct than those they applied to the civilians on board the Mavi Marmara. The Israeli forces cannot impute their own unlawful conduct upon the passengers who were justifiably and genuinely fearful and panicked at the attack," it said.
"Second phase of the attack"
The report said that according to eyewitness accounts, the first two killings of passengers took place on the upper deck by shots fired from helicopters before the first soldier had descended, adding, "there was melee and confusion on deck followed intensified live fire by the Israelis against the passengers. Form this point the facts show that the Israeli soldiers go on a shooting spree indiscriminate and targeted at the same time. Visualize shows how laser beams used on precision rifles was employed. The medical reports prove that some of the passengers who were killed were shot either from close range or from above. There is no evidence to show that these people who were killed posed a threat justifying an act of murder. For example, Cevdet Kiliclar was taking a photo when he was shot point blank in the forehead. Furthermore, there is no evidence that any of the victims killed had any weapons on them."
"Third phase of the attack"
The report said, "once the Israeli forces took over the vessel, instead of exercising caution and care, they continued to brutalize, terrorize by physical and psychological abuse of all the passengers and not simply those who arguably had physically resisted. Onboard passengers were beaten, kicked, elbowed punched, deprived of food and water, hand-cuffed, left to exposed to sun for hours, denied toilet access and made subject to verbal abuse. This amounted to group punishment. There is no other legal justification for this mistreatment that amount to torture other than to punish and set an example."
"After ten hours of sailing under these deplorable and inhumane conditions, the agony of 600 passengers continued in Israel in the port of Ashdod. Most of the passengers were kept handcuffed, stripped and searched; women were subjected to sexually humiliating treatment by male Israeli officials. There is no legal or moral justification to strip a female journalist multiple times and place a detector between her legs. This is completely unacceptable," it said.
"Witnesses report countless incidents of mistreatment. All passengers were forced to sign documents in Hebrew that apparently contained incriminatory statements. They were not allowed access to legal assistance to consular officials, they were not provided with proper and timely medical care, adequate food, they were placed in restricted spaces with extreme temperatures, one woman was put in a small metal box. The purpose of this treatment could only be to punish the passengers. Israel cannot justify this unlawful treatment of passengers on grounds of security or safety or any other legally acceptable reasons," the report indicated.
"Interference with evidence"
The report said that the Israelis confiscated all property belonging to the passengers, including journalists on board, adding "aside from an unlawful taking of personal property, the Israelis also deliberately destroyed, tampered with or spoiled potential evidence important for shedding light on the events of 31 May 2010."
"The bodies of the killed were completely washed, the gunshot residues were removed and there was no accompanying medical and autopsy reports with the repatriated bodies. The Mavi Marmara itself, when returned after being held for 66 days in Ashdod, had been scrubbed down thoroughly, blood stains completely washed off, bullet holes painted over; ship records, Captain's log, computer hardware, ship documents seized, CCTV cameras smashed, all photographic footage seized and presumably destroyed or withheld," it added.
Related news reports:
Turkey's report: Israeli troops shot dead activists before raid - 1
Legal Notice: Copyright, trade marks and other intellectual property rights in this website can not be reproduced without the prior permission.