International humanitarian law, while it sounds nice, often is nothing more than power politics. Witness Turkey's attempt to manipulate and influence a draft U.N. report on last summer's Gaza flotilla, sponsored in substantial part by Turkish Islamist organizations:
The first draft of the panel’s report, which was handed to both sides prior to making it public, infuriated Turkey, which threatened to disassociate itself from the report unless radical changes were made.In other news, Turkey also is demanding that Israel turn over the names of the soldiers involved in the raid.
The panel seems to be operating from the premise that Israel’s maritime blockade on Gaza does not breach international law, the Daily News has learned from diplomatic sources.
This premise weakens Turkey’s argument that Israel violated international law by attacking the flotilla in international waters. There is ongoing debate in the international arena on whether Israel’s blockade is lawful and the issue remains one of the most controversial dimensions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The first draft does, however, accuse Israel of resorting to excessive use of violence that led to the death of the nine Turkish nationals. It asks Israel to pay compensation, one of the two conditions Turkey demanded be fulfilled to normalize ties with Israel. The early version of the draft does not include a call on Israel to apologize, which is Ankara’s second condition.
The Turkish government blames behind-the-scenes interference from the United States for the outcome that it believes lets Israel off the hook.
Turkey has become a provocateur in the Middle East. But you knew that.
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