13 July 2010
An internal inquiry by Israel’s military into the naval raid on a Gaza-bound ship on 31 May 2010 has found that IDF commandos were under-prepared and mistakes were made at a senior level. The report by the retired IDF Major-General Giora Eiland concluded that the operation, in which nine Turkish activists were killed, suffered from flawed intelligence-gathering and inadequate planning. However, it also praised the commandos involved and found the use of force had been the only way to stop the flotilla.
The report criticized the operation's planners for not having a back-up plan in the event of violence, but it also said the mission had not been a failure and did not recommend any dismissals. As they dropped from helicopters on to the deck of the ‘Mavi Marmara’ vessel, Israeli forces were met with violence. Some of those on board who were armed with clubs and knives and at least one gun, the report found.
Eiland said: "In this inquiry we found that there were some professional mistakes regarding both the intelligence and the decision-making process and some of the operational mistakes. But also, we did find some very positive findings, and one of them that should be emphasized is the very professional and courageous way that the Israeli commandos behaved."
He added that his report was intended to help prepare Israel for similar situations which may occur in the future. The Eiland Committee, which began its work on 7 June, scrutinized the military aspects of the raid. A separate inquiry, which includes international observers, is examining whether international law was broken during the military raid.
Reacting to the report, IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi said the inquiry had not revealed failures or negligence, but "brings up mistakes which must be corrected for future incidents".
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