U.N. Security Council Condemns 'Acts' in Israeli Raid
Published: June 1, 2010

UNITED NATIONS - After hours of negotiations, the United Nations Security 
Council early on Tuesday condemned "acts" resulting in the deaths of nine 
civilians in Israel's attack on an aid flotilla trying to breach the Gaza 

In a formal statement that seemed less forceful than what had been demanded by 
the Palestinians, Arab nations and Turkey, the council also demanded an 
impartial investigation into the confrontation. 

The statement urged that aid ships seized in the raid on Monday be released 
along with civilians held by Israel. 

"The Security Council deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries resulting 
from the use of force during the Israeli military operation in international 
waters against the convoy sailing to Gaza," the statement said, adding that the 
15-member body "in this context, condemns those acts which resulted in the 
loss" of lives. 

The wording seemed designed to dilute demands for condemnation exclusively of 
Israel, which argues that its soldiers acted in self-defense in response to 
violent resistance to their interception of the vessels from passengers on 
board. After the raid, Israel seized hundreds of activists as well as the 

"The Security Council requests the immediate release of the ships as well as 
the civilians held by Israel," the United Nations statement said, calling for 
"a prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation conforming to 
international standards." 

It also said the situation in Gaza, under blockade by Israel, was "not 
sustainable" and called for a "sustained and regular flow of goods and people 
to Gaza, as well as unimpeded provision and distribution of humanitarian 
assistance throughout Gaza." 

On the broader Palestinian-Israeli confrontation, the Security Council renewed 
calls for a two-state solution and voiced concern that the raid on the flotilla 
took place while United States-sponsored so-called "proximity talks" were under 

Earlier, Turkey - the unofficial sponsor of the convoy - had proposed a 
statement that would have condemned Israel for violating international law and 
demanded a United Nations investigation, the prosecution of those responsible 
for the raid and compensation for the victims. It also called for the end of 
the blockade. 

But the Obama administration refused to endorse a statement that singled out 
Israel, and it proposed a broader condemnation of the violence that would 
include the assault by passengers of the Israeli commandos as they landed on 
the deck of the ship. 

As the wrangling continued late Monday night and in the early hours Tuesday, 
the two countries were trying to work out their differences on the wording, 
including whether to specify that the investigation should be conducted by 
outsiders, diplomats said. 

While condemnation of Israel in the Security Council is not uncommon, the 
criticism at the emergency session called by Turkey and Lebanon was notable for 
both its vehemence and for the broad array of countries demanding an 
independent investigation into the decision to fire on civilians in what they 
described as a humanitarian mission. 

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu of Turkey, whose country's once close 
relations with Israel have deteriorated markedly since Israel's invasion of 
Gaza in 2009, called the attack "tantamount to banditry and piracy; it is 
murder conducted by a state." 

Noting that the ships were carrying items such as a playground equipment, 
cancer medicine and milk powder, he said that given the history of the Jews the 
Israelis should be more conscious than others of "the dangers and inhumanity of 
ghettoes as the one we currently witness in occupied Gaza." 

Gerard Araud, the French ambassador, said the death toll indicated "there was 
disproportionate use of force and a level of violence which nothing justifies 
and which we condemn." 

Nawaf Salam, the Lebanese ambassador, said even the laws of war require the 
delivery of humanitarian aid. 

Several envoys said Israel was in violation of international law, not least 
because Security Council resolution 1860, passed in January 2009 during the 
Gaza war, had called for ending the blockade and opening unfettered access to 
humanitarian assistance throughout the strip. The diplomats also demanded 
immediate access to their citizens, with some 32 different nationalities among 
the estimated 600 to 700 people on the flotilla. Israel seized all six ships 
and forced them into port. 

The United States, which habitually defends Israel in the council, said that 
the attempt to run the blockade by sea was ill advised. 

"Direct delivery by sea is neither appropriate nor responsible, and certainly 
not effective, under the circumstances," said Alejandro Wolff, the deputy 
permanent representative of the United States. But he also described the 
situation in Gaza as "unsustainable" and called on Israel to undertake a 
credible investigation. 

Daniel Carmon, the deputy Israeli ambassador, scoffed at the idea that the 
ships were a humanitarian convoy - Israel had offered to bring the goods into 
Gaza over land - and said Israeli commandos acted in self-defense after being 
attacked with "life threatening means; live ammunition, knives, clubs, deck 
furniture and others types of weaponry." 

He described the organizers as linked to a variety of Islamic terrorist 
organizations, which the Turkish foreign minister called a lie. 

The International Crisis Group, a nonprofit organization which seeks to end 
conflicts, issued a statement condemning the attack but noted that it was an 
outcome of the failed policy of many countries, not just Israel, in trying to 
isolate the Hamas government which controls the Gaza strip and thus turn the 
population against it. 

Neil MacFarquhar reported from the United Nations, and Alan Cowell from London.

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