Page last updated at 10:57 GMT, Tuesday, 13 July 2010 11:57 UK

Press: No surprises in Israel flotilla report

Israeli General Giora Eiland
General Giora Eiland's investigation found "some mistakes" were made

There was little surprise in the Israeli and Palestinian press that an internal report into Israel's raid of a Gaza-bound aid ship failed to identify culprits for the death of nine activists in the operation. The investigation, led by retired Israeli Gen Giora Eiland, found that "some mistakes" were made but also praised the "professional and courageous" behaviour of the troops involved.

Israel's press praised a "thorough" investigation but said that the inquiry left open the question of how to attribute blame for the mistakes made. It was suggested that the report, which was restricted to the military's conduct, left open the possibility that fault lies with political leaders or intelligence officials.

Eiland's report was largely ignored by the Palestinian, Turkish and Middle East press. One Palestinian paper summed up the general indifference by noting that an inquiry conducted internally was unlikely to point fingers. An Iranian commentator said that Israel's "backtracking" over the incident is further evidence of its weakness.


As expected, Eiland carried out the task thoroughly and in depth, exposing flaws and recommending ways to correct them. Also as expected, Eiland didn't put anyone's head in a noose. The report does not whitewash the cracks in intelligence gathering and operational planning, but it leaves unanswered the question of command responsibility for what Eiland himself has described as "substantive errors within the senior ranks".


Throughout his briefing, Eiland reiterated that his inquiry had not extended to the political hierarchy, Mossad or the Israeli Security Agency and that these are also worth investigating. Thus he elegantly passed the ball from the military court to the political court.


Seldom has a report about a failed operation been received with so much satisfaction by the subjects of the investigation... Eiland rightly avoided calling for someone's head, but there is also a gap between the facts of his report and the soft words he used to express them. Eiland believes his report points to deep problems. But the subjects of the report see no names in the headlines and move on ... [Chief of Staff Gabi] Ashkenazi appointed Eiland knowing that he would provide him with a report that has everything except a clear bottom line.


The running theme [in the report] was that while the Israeli Defence Force made plenty of mistakes ahead of the operation and even during it, none of them were the result of negligence and none of them constituted failures that someone should pay the price for... This fits in with expectations and predictions of what Eiland's report would contain.


The conclusions of the Israeli investigating committee into the crime against the Freedom Flotilla were unsurprising... the inquiry places no blame on anyone... it does not ask that anyone apologise or be put on trial. It made sure not to anger anyone, at least in Israel.


In recent years, the resistance of Muslims and freedom-loving people across the world against the atrocities of the Israeli regime, allied to Israel's backtracking over events such as attacking the Freedom Flotilla, has sent a clear message to the major powers: they are approaching their expiry date and their hegemony over international organisations is coming to an end. BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.

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