Skip To Content
Breaking News

Gaza Blockade Legal, Israeli Commission Finds

The Israeli commission of inquiry into the Israeli Navy’s interception of a Gaza-bound flotilla found that the naval blockade of Gaza does not break international law.

The Turkel Commission also found that Israeli soldiers acted in self-defense on board the Mavi Marmara, which resulted in the deaths of nine Turkish activists.

The commission, formally known as the Public Commission to Examine the Maritime Incident of May 31, 2010, on Sunday released part of the report, which runs nearly 300 pages and deals with Israel’s maritime blockade of Gaza, the Israel Defense Force’s actions in enforcing the blockade, and the actions of the activists attempting to break the blockade.

Another part will deal with whether Israel’s examination and investigation system regarding infringements of the laws of warfare are in accordance with international law.

The commission includes four appointed members from Israel – one died during the proceedings – as well as two foreign observers: Nobel Peace Prize laureate Lord David Trimble from Ireland and Brigadier General (Ret.) Kenneth Watkin of Canada.

The committee heard the testimony of 27 witnesses over the course of 15 days of open proceedings and the testimony of 12 witnesses behind closed doors.

The report found that Israel’s enforcement of the naval and overland blockade complies with international law, including its attention to humanitarian conditions. The report did suggest, however, that Israel should find ways to focus its sanctions on Hamas while not harming the civilian population. The report also suggested that Israel find ways to improve the delivery of medical care to Gazans.

The report’s conclusion read, in part, that “The naval blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip – in view of the security circumstances and Israel’s efforts to comply with its humanitarian obligations – was legal pursuant to the rules of international law. The actions carried out by Israel on May 31, 2010, to enforce the naval blockade had the regrettable consequences of the loss of human life and physical injuries. Nonetheless, and despite the limited number of uses of force for which we could not reach a conclusion, the actions taken were found to be legal pursuant to the rules of international law.”

The report will be turned over to a United Nations panel investigating the May 31 incident. Turkey has already submitted a report that says Israel is completely at fault for the incident.

A message from our editor-in-chief Jodi Rudoren

We're building on 127 years of independent journalism to help you develop deeper connections to what it means to be Jewish today.

With so much at stake for the Jewish people right now — war, rising antisemitism, a high-stakes U.S. presidential election — American Jews depend on the Forward's perspective, integrity and courage.

—  Jodi Rudoren, Editor-in-Chief 

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.