Thursday, June 03, 2010

American teen among Flotilla Dead

According to the BBC, quoting Turkish media, the peace activists slain on the flotilla by IDF commandos include a 19-year-old dual citizen, who held both American and Turkish passports. The teenager Furkan Dogan was struck by four bullets in the head and one in the chest. All nine flotilla casualties were buried in Turkey - one in the capital, and the rest around the country.

The mood of the funeral crowds echoed remarks made by the Turkish president, who said that an irreparable and deep scar had been left in Turkey's relations with Israel.
The Israelis and their botched raid in international waters were denounced repeatedly.

The bodies arrived, along with the 450 activists, in three aircraft chartered by the Turkish government at Istanbul airport in the early hours of Thursday, after several hours of delays.Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc accused Israel of "piracy" and "barbarism and oppression". Mr Arinc said his government saluted the Turkish Islamic charity, the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (IHH), which played a leading role in organising the convoy - a charity Israel has accused of supporting terrorism.

What an avoidable blunder on all sides. Time for a rethink. As far as an independent investigation into the flotilla incident, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is adamant that the government conduct its own, but he might allows "foreign observers" to join the Israeli probe for "transparency". The fact that the illegal boarding occurred outside of Israel has not seemed to have registered.

Meanwhile, another blockade-busting ship, the MV Rachel Corrie, is heading towards Gaza with 15 activists on board and is expected to reach there on Saturday... presumably unless it is blocked by Israel. (One hopes the chopper gambit won't be reattempted.) One hopes that it lands in Egypt and the humanitarian goods are transported through Rafah. Watch this space!

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