Palmer report leaked early

The report of the Palmer Commission – the UN Secretary-General’s Panel of Inquiry on the 31 May 2010 Flotilla Incident – was leaked to the New York Times and published there one day before its expected date of publication, September 2nd.

The report finds that the maritime blockade imposed by Israel on the Gaza Strip is legitimate according to international law, yet it criticized the excessive force that was used in the Israeli navy’s takeover of the Mavi Marmara. The commission also criticized the flotilla’s organizers and the Turkish government.

The commission evaluated the maritime blockade’s legality separate from the closure policy implemented by Israel via the land crossings with Gaza under its control. This position was criticized by Gisha, who expressed regret that the commission “squandered an opportunity to evaluate the overall Gaza closure policy”.

However, it should be noted that the report calls on Israel to “continue with its efforts to ease restrictions on movement of people and goods to and from Gaza with a view to lifting the closure entirely in order to alleviate the unsustainable humanitarian and economic situation facing the civilian population”.

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