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Wednesday, April 7, 2010 as of 11:14 AM ET

Middle East


IDF Criticized for Flotilla Fiasco

July 12, 2010 - 12:29 PM | by: Yonat Friling

The Israeli Army committee that investigated the deadly raid on Turkish aid flotilla, indicated today that it was a consequence of failed intelligence and a lack of proper preparation.

The committee said in its report that the navy had failed to sufficiently consider the possibility that the commandos would encounter violent resistance when attempting to keep the ships out of Gaza.

It also criticized the navy for not cooperating sufficiently with the Mossad in gathering information ahead of the flotilla’s arrival and to discuss the process by which the raid was approved. “In terms of the intelligence effort, not all possible intelligence gathering methods were fully implemented” said the report, “and that the coordination between Navy Intelligence and the Israel Defense Intelligence  (i.e the Mossad) was insufficient.”  The committee concluded that the IDF had chosen not to collect intelligence on Turkey and the IHH because the former is considered friendly and the latter unthreatening.

Maj. Gen. (res. ) Giora Eiland, who headed the investigation, chose to refrain from disciplinary action against particular officers, and characterized the failures made at the planning level as “mistakes,” rather than as negligence or fault.

Analysis of the incident that occurred on board the Turkish Marmara, the report says, led the committee to conclude that the activists on deck had been the first instigators of violence.  At least four instances of live fire on soldiers were noted, though the committee believes there were six in all. In addition, a bullet removed from a soldier’s knee shows the Turkish activists had prepared non-military arms to use against the forces.

Regarding the actual raid, the report found that the Navy had prepared only for “likely” resistance by a handful of activists, and not for a violent attack. Even when the ships neared, and the Navy began to understand it had erred, no new set of plans was formulated.  “the Navy should have understood that the situation did not match its assessments and stop to reconsider the actions it would take” the report claimed.

Eiland’s is the first to complete its investigation. The Turkel Committee, appointed by the government to examine whether the raid adhered to international law, has just begun its investigation. A team from the State Comptroller’s Office will be beginning its own probe of the flotilla raid shortly.

The Israeli Navy is facing yet another similar situation, as activists behind a Libyan-backed ship that set sail from Greece the day before expressed determination to sail directly for Gaza, and not El-Arish in the Sinai, in an attempt to break Israel’s naval blockade.
Fox News has learned that the Navy is on high alert, and will be tracking the ship. Some of the nay personnel were put on on standby in case it needed to board the vessel, as it did when confronted with the Gaza bound flotilla in late May.

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