The Charade Begins: Netanyahu's Flotilla Massacre Probe Testimony - by Stephen Lendman
On August 9, Israel's self-appointed Turkel Commission, its planned whitewash, began hearings into the Freedom Flotilla massacre, a humanitarian mission delivering essential aid to besieged Gazans, Israeli officials blaming the victims, not themselves.
After the incident, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said organizers incited the attack. His deputy, Danny Ayalon, connected them to international terrorists, trying to smuggle in arms, bogusly claiming weapons were found on board the mother ship, the Mavi Marmara.
Netanyahu's spokesman, Mark Regev accused the activists of "initiat(ing) the violence," insisting IDF commandos "were attacked with knives, clubs, and even live fire." Chief of Staff General Gabi Ashkenazi said soldiers were forced by violence to open fire.
He and other Israeli officials lied, clear evidence showing commandos attacked peaceful activists even before boarding, shooting others multiple times at point blank range, some in the head. Their well-planned mission was to interdict, attack, assassinate designated targets, seize the ship's cargo, take prisoners, brutalize them, then send them to an Israeli prison for interrogations.
Straightaway, damage control cover-up began, including appointment of the Turkel Commission, Israel's thinly veiled whitewash, hearings now underway - on day one, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the first witness, Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs publishing his full testimony. Let the charade begin.
Deceiving no one, he absolved his government and IDF commandos, saying they:
"conducted themselves in accordance with international law....display(ing) a rare courage in fulfilling their mission and in defending themselves against a real threat to their lives. I have full confidence in our soldiers, and the State of Israel is proud of them. (My) appearance before this committee is the best evidence of the high standards by which Israel's democracy functions."
Democracy or hypocrisy? In Israel, as in America, for the privileged, not others; for Jews, not Arabs; why observers call Israel a failed state, a rogue one - reckless, lawless, and out-of-control, the Flotilla massacre one of many examples, murdering civilians in international waters, the Prime Minister condoning it, his above statement self-explanatory - words of a criminal, not a leader, asserting bald-faced lies, making false accusations, saying:
"Israel has always been different (from other Middle East states) - very different. Israel is a liberal, democratic country governed by the rule of law, with independent courts, a bona fide parliament, and a free press."
False - Israel spurns democracy, the rule of law, and free expression, treating Jews one way, Palestinians another, including 1.5 million Arab citizens, denied their rights, treated like a fifth column in an alien land - persecuted, threatened, and intimidated to leave, perhaps expelled one day if they won't.
Yet Netanyahu cited "unprecedented threats of war and terrorism," his government "defend(ing) the security of its people and protect(ing) its democratic values, (meeting) this challenge for 62 years."
No nations threaten Israel, the region's only nuclear power, its history blood-drenched in violence against neighbors and Occupied Palestinians, living for 43 years under conditions Westerners can't imagine, surviving and persisting nonetheless, determined one day to be free on their own land in their own country, reclaiming just 22% of what Israel stole, or living cooperatively in one state treating Muslims, Jews, Christians and all others equally, renouncing violence to live peacefully, what Israel won't do and never has, its politics driven by violence, its motive - a dominant Jewish-only Greater Israel, dividing and subjugating other regional states, rendering them weak and subservient, what's never acknowledged but true. What the Turkel Commission knows but won't hear or discuss.
Netanyahu then bogusly called Hamas a terrorist organization, "work(ing) toward the destruction of Israel," assisted by Iran, "also (wanting) to wipe Israel off the map....equipp(ing) Hamas with thousands of rockets, missiles, and other weapons, (transforming Gaza) into a terrorist enclave." False, but Turkel Commission members won't dispute it.
Asked by its members to justify military action, Netanyahu called it "a last resort, and the instructions were to conduct it with as little friction as possible." False again. Planned weeks in advance, commandos had names and photos of activists to assassinate. Even IDF video was faked, filmed in advance on a look-alike ship, staged to comply with Israel's version of events, the real ones entirely different, showing intent to commit premeditated murder.
Yet Netanyahu claimed Flotilla activists were terrorists, "interested with clashing with the IDF," saying commandos had a right to defend themselves from violent attacks, the way Israel always blames victims for its crimes, in this case courageous activists delivering humanitarian aid, risking their lives and welfare doing it, knowing the risks, yet committed as are other planned flotillas coming, determined to break Israel's illegal siege.