Israel Cautiously Welcomes Dismissal of Gaza Flotilla Legal Charges

Illustrative. Israel supporters at a rally in the US. By Joshua Spurlock

Illustrative. Israel supporters at a rally in the US. By Joshua Spurlock

The International Criminal Court (ICC) dismissed allegations against Israeli soldiers in the Gaza Flotilla incident from 2009, a decision welcomed by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), albeit with reservation. The incident, involving the Turkish Mavi Marmara ship, involved a violent mob attacking Israeli soldiers that boarded the ship to prevent it from breaking the blockade of Gaza.

The Israeli statement, published to the MFA website, was primarily concerned that the court’s decision came prior to any investigation into the self-defense issues at hand following the attacks by activists on the ships, which was mentioned in the report. The court dismissed the case before it felt the need to investigate that angle.

“It should be noted that any preliminary statement by the Prosecutor regarding the conduct of IDF soldiers without addressing at all the central issue of self-defense which would justify the resort to force and without conducting a thorough investigation of the incident itself, is bound to be distorted and misleading,” said the Israeli MFA statement.

The Israelis noted that both a United Nations investigation and an independent Commission of Inquiry headed by a former Israeli Supreme Court Justice found that “IDF soldiers were compelled to respond with force to protect their lives in the face of organized, pre-meditated and lethal violence.”

Another area the Israelis considered lacking in the ICC decision was the lack of a conclusion regarding the legitimacy of the case in the first place, since it was already investigated appropriately by Israel. “In this context, it should be stressed that Israel is recognized by leading experts in the international community as a state governed by the rule of law with effective and independent investigative mechanisms which meet high international standards.”

Despite their reservations, Israel took “positive note” of the ICC’s decision to dismiss the case.

“Israel is of the view that there was no basis to open a preliminary examination in the first place and regrets that the precious time and resources of the Court—an institution established to combat impunity for the worst atrocities in the world—were allocated to a complaint that was legally unfounded and politically motivated.”

(By Joshua Spurlock,, November 6, 2014)

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