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."