19 Sep 2011
On 1 September 2011, the panel of inquiry established by the secretary general of the UN into events that transpired when Israeli commandos attacked a flotilla, which included Turkish ships en route to break the blockade on Gaza, found that while Israel did use excessive force, boarding the ships was legal because the blockade on Gaza is legal.
However, talking about the findings of the Palmer Report, Michael Ratner, the president of the Centre for Constitutional Rights, an American NGO that uses the law for positive social change, says that the inquiry's findings on the legality of the blockade was wrong.
According to Ratner, this panel upheld the legality of a blockade that is completely illegal.
The panel's findings are contrary to international law. They are contrary to many finding of the UN itself, including the Human Rights Council. Most international experts would say that the blockade is illegal, contends Ratner.
While Israel argues that the naval blockade was imposed as a security measure to prevent weapons from entering Gaza and that its implementation complies with requirements of international law, Ratner says that that's a complete obfuscation of what is actually going on. What's going on is a blockade against humanitarian goods into Gaza and it's a form of collective punishment.
Editor's Note: You might also be interested in "The Legal Flaws in the Palmer Report" by Richard Falk and Phyllis Bennis.