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12 Jul, 2010 18:57

Israel admits “planning flaws” in aid raid, but no one blamed

An Israeli military investigation says poor planning and intelligence led to the deadly attack on a Gaza aid flotilla in May.

But the new report puts no blame on the commandos who opened fire, killing nine Turkish activists.

There was a heated debate on RT between Jeff Halper, a co-founder and coordinator of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, and Ra’anan Gissin, an expert on the Arab-Israeli conflict and former adviser to the Israeli prime minister who defended the country's military for investigating itself.

Discussing the validity of an Israeli military commission investigating its own actions, especially when such serious errors were made, Gissin said that on the contrary, historically this institution has proved itself to be very effective.

“The army always investigates itself and learns from its mistakes and tries to improve it,” he emphasized.

“The commission has pointed out some of the deficiencies in intelligence gathering and intelligence assessment. But I want to say something about this whole affair and I protest the fact that we killed some nine activists,” Gissin added. “This was active self-defense and this is the core issue. The core issue is that we are fighting in a different type of environment, different type of war and in this war we have the right to self-defense.”

“What about the occupation?” Jeff Halper responded. “Gissin talks about self-defense and all that nonsense. The fact is we have a 43-year occupation that the entire world is trying to end. It has nothing whatsoever to do with self-defense!”

And talking about Israel easing the blockade of Gaza, Halper pointed out that Gaza “has gone from a concentration camp to a prison.”

“You have a million people in prison, they can’t get out, they are impoverished, has that improved? No!” he said. “The occupation has to end, the siege has to end. There is no such thing as improving conditions in prison. This is like a prison commission report. The prison guards would like to know – how can we do our jobs better? What the world is saying is – Israel, you shouldn’t have prison guards in Gaza. Gaza should be a free country, like Israel and the other countries of the world. That’s what should be investigated – why is Israel still in Gaza after 43 years?”

Meanwhile, the latest reports suggest that the Libyan aid ship ‘Hope’ could be in Gaza waters by Tuesday evening. Israel says it will not allow the ship to break the blockade.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry has urged the defense establishment not to take any kind of action until it is clear that the ship is within the waters of Gaza, in order to prevent a repeat of what happened several weeks ago when an Israeli commando unit stormed a Turkish vessel while it still was in international waters.