Sunday, September 4, 2011

Turkey to challenge Israel's Gaza siege


Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu

Source: Press TV
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/197323.html

Turkey says it plans to challenge Israel's blockade on the Gaza Strip at the International Court of Justice, amid rising tensions between Ankara and Tel Aviv.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced the decision on Saturday, one day after the release of a United Nations report on Israel's May 31, 2010 attack on a Gaza-bound aid convoy in international waters and the deaths of nine Turkish nationals on board the fleet.

The report, written by former New Zealand Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer and former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, approved Israel's blockade of Gaza -- tightened a year after the election of Hamas in Palestine's general elections of 2006 -- as a so-called security measure.

It called the Israeli raid "excessive and unreasonable," but also blamed Turkey and the flotilla organizers for contributing to the killing of pro-Palestinian activists.

Davutoglu rejected the Palmer report saying it was in contrast with an earlier report on the incident prepared by the UN Human Rights Council in September, which found that Israel violated international law by attacking the civilian aid convoy.

He argued that the recent document was not endorsed by the United Nations and was therefore not binding.

“What is binding is the International Court of Justice,'' Davutoglu said.

“This is what we are saying: let the International Court of Justice decide,'' he added, explaining that Ankara was preparing the necessary grounds for the legal action.

The comments came a day after Turkey, irked by Israel's refusal to apologize over its deadly attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, expelled Tel Aviv's ambassador to Ankara and froze all military ties with Israel.

Turkey, which has been actively pursuing the case of Israel's flotilla attack, also promised to support legal actions against Israel by the families of the victims of the attack.

It also vowed to take measures to ensure freedom to navigate in the eastern Mediterranean, a move that analysts suggest could mean sending navy forces to escort future aid convoys.

In his Saturday comments, Davutoglu warned Tel Aviv that its persistence in disdaining to apologize could seriously endanger Israel's interest in Arab and Muslim countries, swept by popular revolutions and a surging wave of Islamic Awakening.

"If Israel persists with its current position, the Arab spring will give rise to a strong Israel opposition as well as the debate on the authoritarian regimes,'' he said.

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