Holy Land: UN says Israel violated human rights in raid on aid convoy

Wilful killing, torture and inhuman treatment: these are some of the accusations listed in an investigative report released by the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on the Israeli military raid on a flotilla of aid ships bound for the Gaza Strip in May.

The report also calls on the Israeli government to collaborate in the identification and prosecution of soldiers, who acted with their faces covered, responsible for the killing of nine rights activists in the raid in international waters on 31 May. The UN experts gathered dozens of testimonies in Turkey, Jordan, Switzerland and Britain. Seven of the victims on the Mavi Marmara ship,  were Turkish. Their killings triggered a diplomatic crisis between Ankara and Tel Aviv, and lead to further tensions in the Middle East in general.

The Israeli government justified the raid as in line with international law, arguing that it had the right to retaliate against ships attempting to breach its blockade of the impoverished Gaza Strip, alleging that its soldiers acted in defence after the activists attacked them with sticks and knives.

The inquiry ordered by the UN Human Rights Council said Israel’s military used “unnecessary violence”, which constituted grave violations of human rights law and international humanitarian law”, adding there is “clear evidence to support prosecutions” of crimes including “willful killing; torture or inhuman treatment; and willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health”.


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