A Turkish prosecutor has open a case against the Israeli officials who approved the attack on the Gaza flotilla and the Turkish ship, Mavi Marmara, which left 9 Turkish nationals dead:
Israel’s prime minister, defense minister and chief of General Staff are among the prime suspects in an investigation initiated by the İstanbul Bakırköy Prosecutor’s Office into Monday’s military operation against a Gaza-bound civilian aid flotilla that left nine peace activists, all of whom were Turkish citizens, dead.
…If the prosecutor’s office can compile enough evidence against Israel at the end of its probe, it will charge Israeli officials with various crimes, including murder, injury, taking hostages, attacking Turkish citizens on the open seas and piracy. The main suspects in the investigation thus far are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Chief of General Staff Gabi Ashkenazi.
…Turkey’s foreign and justice ministries are also closely following the investigation, which might end up with the indictment of those responsible for the raid. The trial of these suspects will be based on the international Law of the Sea Convention and universal principles regarding a fair trial.
What’s important about this development is not any imminent threat that Israeli leaders will end up in a Turkish prison. But that this begins a process of pressuring Israel through the use of the judicial process, much as the Goldstone Report pressured Israel regarding Operation Cast Lead. It will be yet another method by which to bring to the world’s attention the nature of the crime that Israel committed against Turkey and its citizens. This is how one builds a broader case too to appeal to the international community for accountability for Israel’s actions, insisting on the applicability of international law and the laws of war.
The battle against Israel’s Gaza policy is multi-pronged. No one issue will break the dam, but when all are pressed together then the dam may be breached.
Today, brings news that a single Israeli commando killed six of the 9 who died that night. The soldier is being considered for a medal for bravery. What I hope is that my IDF veteran friends with Breaking the Silence and Combatants for Peace will identity this individual and send him pictures of the men he killed along with their families and perhaps pictures of their dead bodies. These will include the noted Turkish photographer Cevdet Kılıçlar, whose images will break your heart, knowing he will no longer be among the us to capture, with such incredible delicacy and dignity, the faces of his subjects. They also include Furkan Dogan, the 19 year old Turkish-American who hoped to attend medical school.
By the way, I’d like to know why the IDF found it necessary to murder a photographer shooting pictures of the scene on board, putting a bullet right between his eyes. Undoubtedly, they preferred having no documentary record of the massacre. Will we ever see the images Cevdet Kılıçlar shot that night? Perhaps we’ll even see an image of his executioner the moment before death. Or perhaps the IDF has already destroyed the evidence much as the CIA destroyed videotapes of its own torture sessions involving Al Qaeda suspects.