Israeli report critical of flotilla raid

June 13, 2012 at 7:51 AM
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JERUSALEM, June 13 (UPI) -- Israel's state comptroller cited serious flaws in the decision- making process that led to the military raid on the Turkish boat Mavi Mamara in May 2010.

Nine Turkish civilians were killed in the raid and a number of Israeli commandos injured in the raid on the ship to prevent it from sailing towards Gaza on May 31, 2010. The ship was one of six that attempted to break Israel's naval blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. The Mavi Mamara was owned by the Hamas-linked Turkish Islamic group IHH.

In a report issued Wednesday, Micha Lindenstrauss criticized Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for meeting individually with some of the ministers in mostly undocumented meetings and only at the last minute convening the ministerial cabinet, which was unprepared to discuss action. Lindenstrauss called the decision-making process "unsystematic."

Lindenstrauss also cited flaws in the decision-making of senior Israeli army officials, Israel Radio reported. Preparations for the raid were faulty and poorly organized, he said.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak was also severely criticized for failing to examine whether the army was prepared to confront the actions of passengers, the report said. Former Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi was criticized for failing to present the government with a number of options aside from the raiding the boat, Maariv said.

Lindenstrauss criticized the lack of information provided to the media during the raid, the daily said. The report took issue with failures in public diplomacy and public relations before and during the raid, which he said caused considerable damage to Israel's international image.

The raid severely damaged Israel's relations with Turkey, which demanded a public apology from Israel even though passengers aboard the ship were armed with knives and hand guns, and attacked the commandos.

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