PM Netanyahu's remarks on the Turkel Commission Report at Sunday evening's International Holocaust Day ceremony

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a statement about Turkel commission, an inquiry set up by the Israeli Government to investigate the Gaza flotilla raid , as Holocaust survivors and their grandchildren listen during International Holocaust Remembrance Day event, in his office in Jerusalem, Sunday Jan. 23, 2011. An Israeli panel on Sunday cleared the military and government of any wrongdoing during last year's deadly raid on a Gaza-bound international flotilla, but the finding appeared unlikely to repair damage to Israel's standing.Nine pro-Palestinian activists, eight Turkish citizens and a Turkish American, were killed as Israeli commandos boarded one of the ships in the flotilla, the Mavi Marmara, last May 31. The report said the armed defense of Israel's maritime blockade of the Hamas-ruled coastal strip was justified under international law. (AP Photo//Debbie Hill, Pool)



On this stage, you see the transformation of the Jewish people.

The Holocaust survivors here survived an inferno that transpired on our people because we lacked the power of self-defense, and with the restoration of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel, we restored the capacity for self-defense.

Now, there are those who would deprive us of that right and of that power.

Of course, they don’t say that outright. They say: yes, Israel has a right to defend itself – but only in theory.
Because when we come in practice to exercise that right, they accuse us of war crimes.

This is what they did when we set up to put up a security fence against suicide terrorists. They actually wanted to take us to an international law court for committing the international crime, so they said, a war crime of putting up a fence against terrorist bombers.
And this is what happened the second time with the Goldstone Report – when we responded, in the most pinpointed way that any army has responded, to the firing of thousands of rockets on our citizens.

And this is also what happened last May – when Israel enforced a naval blockade to prevent weapons and war material from infiltrating into the terror organizations in Gaza.

Watch the video : PM Netanyahu’s remarks on the findings of the Turkel Commission Report

Now, there were those who claimed that Israel and its soldiers acted improperly and against international law.
We established a commission, an independent, transparent commission, an impartial commission of inquiry, to look into these allegations.

The Head of this Commission is a former Supreme Court Justice, Justice Turkel. Among its members were security, legal and military experts, and it also included several prominent international experts and international observers, including the Nobel Prize Laureate, Lord David Trimble, and the former Judge Advocate General of the Canadian Army, Brigadier General Ken Watkin.

This is a highly impartial, highly expert, highly reputable Commission, and it published a report.

The report published today clearly shows that the blockade of Gaza is legal; it shows that the enforcement of the blockade last May was legal and it shows that the Israeli soldiers who boarded the Marmara acted legally and in self-defense.

I hope that all those who rushed to judgment against Israel and against its soldiers will read these reports and learn the truth about what happened.  The truth is that our soldiers were defending our country and defending their very lives.

This is not only their right; it is their duty.

The State of Israel stands behind them and thanks them for their courage.

Thank you.  (*)

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