Israel rejects UN probe

Israel has dismissed a UN decision to set up a probe of the deadly raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla, saying the Human Rights Council that adopted the resolution had no moral authority whatsoever.


“The authority of this council, which once again is working stubbornly against Israel, has reached rock bottom,” said foreign ministry spokesman Ygal Palmor.

He pointed out that some of the resolution’s signatories, like “Djibouti, Pakistan, Cuba or Saudi Arabia, are in a bad position to present themselves as defenders of human rights which they violate massively”, he said.

On Wednesday, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution setting up an independent international probe into Israel’s interception in international waters of the six ships laden with aid and activists seeking to break the Gaza blockade.

The resolution condemned the “outrageous attack”. Meanwhile, a key Turkish organiser of the ill-fated Gaza aid flotilla charged on Thursday that more than a dozen injured activists were still unaccounted for following the bloody Israeli assault on the convoy.

Bulent Yildirim, head of the Islamist charity IHH, said the toll from Monday’s raid may be higher than the nine dead announced by Israel, after he was deported home with hundreds of activists.

“We were given the bodies of nine martyrs, but we have a longer list.

There are missing people,” he told reporters.

“Our doctors handed over 38 injured, on our return they (the Israelis) said there were only 21 injured.”

Eight Turks and a US national of Turkish origin were the nationalities of the dead determined after post-mortem examinations at a forensic institute in Istanbul, Anatolia News Agency said.

All the activists were shot dead, the agency said.

Forensic experts found bullet marks on all the bodies and determined that one was shot at close range.

Yildirim, who heads the Islamist Foundation of Humanitarian Relief (IHH), accused Israeli forces of indiscriminate killing, highlighting the death of one journalist on the Mavi Marmara ship, named Cevdet.

“He was just taking pictures. He was shot at from no more than a metre and his brain exploded … one of our friends was shot even after he had surrendered,” Yildirim said.

“They killed whoever they laid hands on. They even threw some of our friends into the sea.” Yildirim said the activists attacked Israeli forces with iron bars “in self defence”, adding that they also seized the soldiers’ weapons but threw them in the sea rather than using them.

Israel has said the commandos opened fire after they came under attack. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said officials were verifying that all the activists were accounted for.

A Belgian passenger from the Mavi Marmara backed up testimony that passengers on the lead ship were unarmed, saying the “world must know” what happened.

“We saw terrible things, things we would never have thought to experience in our lives,” Kenza Isnani told reporters. “The passengers had a non-violent, peaceful attitude.

There were no weapons. There was no provocation or intention to get mixed up in violence, not at all.”

“The world must know what happened on that boat. It is important for the dead, and for the thousands of Palestinians who are suffering.” An Irish aid boat is steaming towards Gaza where it hopes to deliver vital supplies at the weekend, but those on board will not resist arrest by Israeli forces, organisers said.

The MV Rachel Corrie — carrying 15 people including a Nobel Prize winner and a former top UN official — is some 720km from where six boats were boarded in a botched Israeli raid which left nine dead.

“It’s going about 200 miles a day,” said Kevin Squires of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) “So it’s expected to reach sometime on Saturday,” he said.