Olivier De Schutter, Special United Nations Rapporteur on the Right to Food, voiced strong criticism of a highly anticipated UN report that is said to back Israel’s attack against the Freedom Flotilla that was heading to Gaza to deliver food and medical supplies last year, leading to the death of nine Turkish activists. The AFP reported that Professor De Schutter made his conclusions after receiving a draft of the report, and is currently preparing his response to it. The office of De Schutter said that this move would be exceptional within the United Nations.
The UN Commission will release the report on Friday in which, UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, will express support to what was described as the “legality of Israel’s intervention against the Freedom Flotilla in May 2010”.
The AFP reported that Professor De Schutter opposes the Israeli siege on Gaza, and considers the Israeli attack on the Flotilla as a violation to the international law, and the right to food.
Several days ago, findings of a UN commission headed by Geoffrey Palmer, that were leaked in Tel Aviv and Ankara, considered the Israeli attack on the flotilla as premature, and denounced the death of the activists by Israeli commando fire.
An Israeli official stated Thursday that the UN report on the Israeli attack on the Turkish ship of the Freedom Flotilla will be published on July 27, and that the delays in releasing the report came in an effort to facilitate talks between Israel and Turkey.
The official, who elected to remain anonymous, refused to elaborate on the report that will be announced by the UN Chief. A commission formed by the UN chief, headed by former New Zealand Prime Minister, Jeffery Palmer, prepared the report.
Meanwhile, Israeli Finance Minister, Yuval Steinitz, stated earlier that drafts of the Palmer report indicate that the Commission will rule in favor of Israel.
Steinitz added that the report states that the Israeli siege on Gaza is legal, and that Israel conducted “legitimate steps” in countering the flotilla and the attempts to challenge the siege.
Steinitz, who is also a member of the ministerial cabinet of Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said that the Palmer report would include what he called “limited criticism for attacking the MV Marmara Turkish ship last year”.
Israel was worried that criticisms and international condemnation would lead to international repercussions, including the arrest and prosecution of officials and commanders involved in the attack.
It is worth mentioning that Israel previously boycotted and condemned an earlier UN Human Rights Council report that denounced the Israeli siege on Gaza and the attack against the MV Marmara Turkish Ship of the Freedom Flotilla.
On Wednesday, Turkish Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, said that he values Palmer’s report and commitment to the International Law, and that his country will not accept any findings that contradict the report of the Human Rights Council.
The Turkish government is still demanding Israel to apologize for its attack against the Turkish Ship, and affirmed that it had no connection with the MV Marmara, as it was not a government-sponsored cruise.
On May 31 2010, the Israeli Navy, using helicopters and ships, attacked the MV Marmara ship of the Freedom Flotilla, killed nine Turkish activists, and wounded several others before towing the ship to Ashdod Port.
The ship was in International Territorial waters and did not approach Israeli shores, an issue that makes the attack illegal under international law.
In September 2010, the UN Human Rights Council issued a report stating that “there are clear evidence that allows prosecuting Israel for crimes committed during the attack, including killing and torturing the activists”, the Arabs48 news website reported.