Amnesty: UN flotilla report recommendations ‘insufficient’


Related: The Mavi Marmara Massacre



Maan News Agency | Sept 3, 2011

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The recommendations of the UN-sponsored Palmer report into Israel’s deadly raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla do not go far enough, Amnesty International said Friday.

The international rights group also said the report, written by a panel headed by former New Zealand Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer, does not imply Israel’s blockade on the coastal strip is lawful, but simply addresses the naval blockade.

Amnesty welcomed the UN’s finding that the Israeli army used “excessive force” in its takeover of the lead ship, the Mavi Marmara, in which nine Turkish nationals were killed.

This “concurs with Amnesty International’s assessment” and with the September 2010 findings of a UN Human Rights Council probe into the incident, a statement from the group said.

But Amnesty said recommendations of the latest report, released on Thursday, were “insufficient”.

The human rights organization said a call for Israel to continue easing restrictions on movement of goods and people to and from Gaza failed to capture the spectrum of rights due to Gaza residents.

“This means allowing exports as well as imports, fully opening all the crossing points under Israeli control, allowing Gazans to use arable land inside the Strip currently off limits due to the open-fire rules employed by the IDF [Israeli army] in the ‘buffer zone,’ allowing Palestinian fishermen access to their coastal waters, and allowing travel between Gaza and the West Bank,” Amnesty said.

The statement also noted that victims of the Israeli raid were due more than the report’s recommendation of an “appropriate statement of regret.”

“An apology and compensation are only two elements of victims’ right to an effective remedy, which also includes accountability through criminal prosecutions where sufficient evidence is available,” the group said.

Amnesty added its own recommendation in response to the UN panel’s mandate to pose how to avoid such events recurring.

“The best way to avoid similar incidents is for Israel to fully and immediately lift the siege imposed on Gaza since June 2007, and allow Gazans to rebuild the homes, schools, clinics and infrastructure destroyed by the Israeli military,” the statement said.

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