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May 31, 2010

NY Times Misses the Boat on Israeli Warnings

The New York Times' developing story today on the Gaza flotilla confrontation misses the boat on at least two key points.

1) Regarding the warning that the Israeli navy gave to the Free Gaza boats, Isabel Kershner writes selectively:

On Sunday, three Israeli Navy missile boats had left the Haifa naval base in northern Israel a few minutes after 9 p.m. local time, planning to intercept the flotilla. After asking the captains of the boats to identify themselves, the navy told them they were approaching a blockaded area and asked them either to proceed to Ashdod or return to their countries of origin.

The activists responded that they would continue toward their destination, Gaza.

Here is a video clip of the naval warning:

Notice that it also included an offer to the activists to land in Ashdod and have the aid delivered by land to Gaza, under the activists' supervision. Kershner's report does not relay the Israeli offer to transfer the aid to the Gaza population.The so-called human rights activists' rejection of that offer was likewise not reported.

2) Kershner also reports without clarification the Turkish claim that Israel's forcible boarding of the ships was a violation of international law:

“Israel launched this operation in international waters and to a ship flagged white, which is unacceptable under any clause of the international law,” the head of the Turkish Grand National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs Commission, Murat Mercan, said on the Turkish station NTV.

Yet, according to the San Remo Manual, it is permissible under rule 67(a) to attack neutral vessels on the high seas when the vessels “are believed on reasonable grounds to be carrying contraband or breaching a blockade, and after prior warning they intentionally and clearly refuse to stop, or intentionally and clearly resist visit, search or capture.”

Posted by TS at May 31, 2010 07:17 AM

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