x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Netanyahu handling of Turkey flotilla slammed by Israeli watchdog

In a 153-page report, State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss criticises the decision-making process which led to the botched predawn raid on a six-ship flotilla on May 31, 2010.

JERUSALEM // Israel's state watchdog sharply criticised Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, over his handling of a 2010 military raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla which left nine Turkish nationals dead.

"In the process of decision making, which was led by the prime minister and under his responsibility, regarding the handling of the [flotilla], there were significant shortcomings," said a report published by State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss.

In the 153-page report, the comptroller slammed the decision-making process which led to the botched predawn raid on a six-ship flotilla on May 31, 2010, which was headed by the Mavi Marmara, a Turkish ferry carrying more than 600 people.

The bloody raid triggered a diplomatic crisis between once-close allies Israel and Turkey, with Ankara demanding a formal Israeli apology and compensation for the families of the victims.

Mr Netanyahu, the report said, had not held a formal discussion with top ministers about the flotilla, and had only held separate talks on the issue with Ehud Barak, the defence minister, and Avigdor Lieberman, the foreign minister.

"The prime minister did not order integrative staff work regarding the necessary policy to deal with the flotilla, instead there were personal, separate meetings, between the prime minister and the defence minister, and between the prime minister and the foreign minister, which were not documented or summarised, and there was no discussion between the prime minister and any group of ministers," the report said.

"The only discussion that took place on the issue was in the Forum of Seven just before the flotilla arrived, an 'ad hoc' discussion without any preparation," it said, referring to Mr Netanyahu's inner forum of senior ministers, which now counts nine members.

"The process of decision-making was done without orderly, agreed-upon, coordinated and documented staff work, despite the recognition of the senior political echelon and IDF chiefs, intelligence bodies and the National Security Council on the different nature of the Turkish flotilla compared to previous flotillas," it said.