So now we know why Israel refused to announce the dead and injured. The NY Times reports that one of the dead is a dual U.S.-Turkish citizen, Furkan Dogan:
One of the nine people killed in an Israeli commando raid on a flotilla of ships heading for Gaza this week was a United States citizen of Turkish descent, officials in Turkey and Washington said Thursday.
The development added a new diplomatic complexity as Israel struggled to defuse rising international anger over its raid…
A senior Turkish official, who spoke in return for anonymity under government rules, said Turkish investigators examining the dead had found that one of them was an American of Turkish descent, but did not identify the American by name. A United States official in Washington confirmed that an American was among the dead.
Reports in the Turkish press identified the American as Furkan Dogan, 19, who was born in the United States before returning to Turkey with his family as a young child.
Mr. Dogan’s brother, Mustafa, described him as “clean-hearted with a happy face,” and said that he had asked for his parents’ blessing before leaving with the flotilla, according to a report in the Turkish newspaper Zaman.
“We didn’t expect him to come back like this,” Mr. Dogan’s brother was quoted as saying. “However, we were not sorry to hear that he fell like a martyr.”
The Cihan news agency reported that Mr. Dogan had one bullet in the chest and four bullets fired into his head from close range.
[UPDATE: I find it odd in the extreme that this entire passage has been removed from later versions of this article published on the Times website. The current form of the article doesn’t mention the dead boy’s name at all nor any reference to how he died. Couldn’t the poor kid at least have a name? I have to wonder whether Bill Keller received a very stern phone call from the Israeli ambassador excoriating him for publishing such "unsubstantiated” and incendiary claims against Israel. I’d love someone to write to Clark Hoyt, the ombundsman, to find out what happened to this portion of the story.
UPDATE II: The report about Dogan’s death was moved to another story. In the process, the Times seemed to have lost heart in the claim about the bullet wounds to the head and noted the Turkish foreign ministry could not confirm this. Autopsies are now being performed in Turkey. I imagine more authoritative information will come out in the next few days on this.]
This is the first time I’m aware in the history of the State of Israel that the IDF has killed a U.S. citizen. If I’m right, it will be yet another dark milestone in the history of the Jewish state and its relations with its mentor, the U.S.A. [<[Correction: I’d forgotten Rachel Corrie and the USS Liberty]p>
You know what those four bullets were–the kill shot. It’s a well-known practice of Israeli commandos and covert ops personnel. You shoot the victim and then close in for the shot to the head that finishes them off. Yes, I wasn’t there and can’t confirm with absolute certainty that this is indeed what happened. And lest anyone protest about my characterization I have accounts by IDF personnel about this practice and testimony about specific incidents in which it happened. An autopsy should confirm or disprove what I’ve written.
Barack Obama, do you let U.S. citizens be murdered in cold blood by the IDF? What will you do about this? If this were any other country I’d know what to expect: protest, redoubled efforts to end the Gaza siege, engagement with Israel, possibly withdrawing the U.S. ambassador. That’s what Britain would likely do, as it’s already had the moxie to demand an end to the siege, something our government hasn’t had the courage to do. This incident should bring our policy a lot closer to Turkey’s as we clearly now have shared interests. But will it?
But given the timidity of this government, I don’t know what they’ll do aside from murmuring a bit about it. Face it, our policy is shameful. Dogan’s dead body serves as physical witness to this. Will it spur Obama on to do the right thing–or anything? Your guess is as good as mine.
Any reader who can provide a picture of Dogan or further information about him–this would be welcomed.