I don’t understand the Israeli government defense of the ‘shoot to kill’ behavior of commandos that stormed the Turkish flotilla going toward Gaza.
The protesters used primitive weapons — bats, slingshots, etc. Even if it is true that the activists brutally attacked the ship-raiding commandos, shooting to stop people, to deter them, or to disable them, is not shooting to kill.
This use of disproportionate force is something we have seen in Israel’s military profile over and over again — but particularly under the tenure of Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
This in from Reuters:
Autopsy results showed the men were hit mostly with 9mm bullets, many fired at close range, the Guardian said, quoting Yalcin Buyuk, vice-chairman of the Turkish council of forensic medicine which carried out the autopsies on Friday.
Israeli commandos stormed a flotilla of aid ships planning to break the Israeli sea blockade of Gaza on Monday. The deaths, which all took place on one ship, the Mavi Marmara, drew widespread condemnation.
Israel said the marines who rappelled onto the Mavi Marmara fired in self-defense after activists attacked them with clubs and knives as well as two pistols snatched from the commandos.
The autopsy results showed that a 60-year-old man, Ibrahim Bilgen, was shot four times in the temple, chest, hip and back, the Guardian said.
A 19-year-old, named as Fulkan Dogan, who also has U.S. citizenship, was shot five times from less than 45 cm (18 inches) away, in the face, the back of the head, twice in the leg and once in the back, it said.
Two other men were shot four times. Five of those killed were shot either in the back of the head or in the back, the Guardian quoted Buyuk as saying.
In addition to those killed, 48 others suffered gunshot wounds and six activists were still missing, he added.
Israel said the multiple gunshot wounds did not mean the shots were fired other than in self defense.
Even those who support the Israel government’s right to board the ships and enforce the Gaza blockade have to ask themselves what the far more powerful and better armed IDF soldiers were thinking unloading so many bullets into the skulls of primitively armed activists.
This is really outrageous – and Vice President Joe Biden’s comments that Israel conduct an investigation into this incident was out of line. Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has backed off its original hyperbolic claims that the flotilla was connected to al Qaeda affiliates, and there are significant discrepancies in what IDF soldiers are reporting to the media and what various Israeli government embassies and consulates are publicly stating.
Truth is pretty slippery in this case — and an outside group needs to look into what really happened and why.
— Steve Clemons