A woman holds a placard showing the Mavi Marmara. Turkish text reads: 'Israel on trial.' (Photo: IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation via flickr)A Turkish court on Monday ordered arrest warrants for four former Israeli military commanders for their role in a deadly 2010 raid on a Gaza-bound humanitarian aid ship.
In addition to ordering their arrests, the court requested Interpol Red Notices for the men.
That attack on the Mavi Marmara, which Institute for Policy Studies fellow Phyllis Bennisdescribed as a "pirate-style assault on [an] unarmed flotilla of ships carrying hundreds of humanitarian aid workers and 10,000 tons of supplies for the besieged Gaza Strip," killed 10human rights activists and wounded many others.
Among the four whose arrests are sought is former Israeli Chief of Staff, Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, who, in a state-appointed inquest stated that the Israeli commandos fired 308 live bullets on the ship and that the killing of the peaceful activists was unavoidable. As Reutersreported,
Turkish prosecutors have already sought multiple life sentences for the now-retired Israeli officers over their involvement in the killings. Among the charges listed in the 144-page indictment are "inciting murder through cruelty or torture" and "inciting injury with firearms".
Oğuz Çelikkol, Turkey’s ambassador to Tel Aviv at the time, told Turkey's Hurriyet Daily Newsthat he was surprised by the action taken by Israel. "We knew the crisis was coming but we did not foresee that it would result like that," he said. "Obviously, we were not expecting Israel to let the humanitarian aid reach Gaza, but we thought the intervention method would be different."
"A military intervention of that type was hard to expect," Çelikkol said.
To see some video footage of the attack that one of the activists was able to get out, watch the Democracy Now! segment below:
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