The UN Human Rights Council fact-finding mission examining the events of the flotilla has sent teams to Jordan and Turkey.

Issued on: 02/09/2010 Type: Article



Overview

1. The fact-finding mission of the UN's Human Rights Council established to examine the events of the Mavi Marmara flotilla, recently sent teams to Turkey and Jordan. They were in Turkey from August 22 to August 29 and are expected to be in Jordan from August 29 to September 4. They interviewed eye witnesses and were expected to interview Jordanian officials. A technical-legal team was sent to Turkey to examine the Mavi Marmara. In addition, beginning in the second week of August, mission experts began interviewing eye witnesses in London and Geneva.

2. An examination of the resolution establishing the mission and of the methodology of the teams in Jordan so far indicates a high probability that the conclusions will be both unreliable and biased against Israel. While it is unclear how the mission's leaders will operate, the work force is apparently employing a methodology similar to that of the Goldstone Report, completely unbalanced and clearly, systematically biased towards the Palestinians, favoring Hamas' narrative and prejudiced against Israel.1

The Mission's Activity in Jordan

3. On August 29 the publication of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, Al-Sabil, reported that the chairman of the Jordanian Lifeline committee, engineer Wa'al Ikram Ass'ad al-Saqa, said that the UN Human Rights Council had distributed questionnaires to Jordanians who had been passengers on the Mavi Marmara. They were asked to use them to describe the events during the voyage and give their opinions and comments about the conduct of the Israeli soldiers (who, according to al-Saqa, reportedly "deliberately killed" nine Turkish "passengers").

4. Wa'al al-Saqa, chairman of the Jordanian Lifeline committee, headed the Jordanian delegation which participated in the last flotilla and sailed aboard the Mavi Marmara. Al-Saqa is an engineer, chairman of the Jordanian engineers' union and a long-time member of the Muslim Brotherhood, which was strongly represented on the Mavi Marmara.

Wa'al al-Saqa, a passenger on the Mavi Marmara
Wa'al al-Saqa, a passenger on the Mavi Marmara, at a press
conference after his return to Jordan (Picture from bokra.net).

5. The Jordanian delegation aboard the Mavi Marmara numbered 31 and was one of the two largest Arab groups, second only to the 32-man Algerian delegation. Within the Jordanian delegation there were two main groups whose common denominator was their fierce hostility to Israel:

A. Activists with links to the Muslim Brotherhood, which forms the main opposition group in Jordan in both size and amount of public influence (most of the movement in Jordan is composed of Palestinians, but there are also trans-Jordanians): The Jordanian movement is part of the global Muslim Brotherhood movement, but in Jordan it is part of the legitimate opposition to the regime. However, the Muslim Brotherhood is blatantly anti-Israel and agitates for an annulment of the Israel-Jordan peace agreement. The more radical factions seek closer relations with Hamas and support the use of terrorism and violence against Israel

B.  Jordanian trade and professional union members: In Jordan union membership is mandatory. The unions exploit their organizational bases to promote political ideologies and interests, and thus are important to the Jordanian opposition, beyond their economic-professional functions. They have traditionally led the struggle against the Jordanian regime's normalized relations with Israel and even established a committee working toward ending the normalization.

6. It is reasonable to assume that the description of the events aboard the Mavi Marmara in the questionnaire distributed to the Jordanian flotilla participants will be biased to provide "evidence" for the claims that appeared in the UN resolution (See below).

Jordanian activists at a press conference with participants after the flotilla
Jordanian activists at a press conference with participants after the flotilla
(Picture from pharmajo.com).

The fundamental bias of the fact-finding commission as expressed
by the terminology of the Human Rights Council's resolution
 

7. The problematic methodology of the fact-finding mission reflects the fundamental bias of UN Human Rights Council resolution 14/1, taken on June 23, 2010 and entitled "The Grave Attacks by Israeli Forces against the Humanitarian Boat Convoy."2

8. The wording of the resolution and various documents posted on the UN Human Rights Council website "[condemn Israel] in the strongest terms” for its "outrageous attack" against the "humanitarian boat convoy." No mention was made of the violence of IHH operatives against the Israeli soldiers or of the preparations made for a violent confrontation with the IDF. Those preparations included bringing offensive weapons aboard the Mavi Marmara and using them against the IDF, including guns (two IDF soldiers were shot, one of them with a gun taken from a soldier, the other with a gun not in IDF use which in our assessment was brought on board by one of the IHH operatives).3 The resolution also makes no mention of Israel's need to deal with the smuggling of terrorist operatives, money and weapons (including long-range rockets) into the Gaza Strip for Hamas, which necessitates inspection of passages and routes entering and leaving the Strip.

9. The resolution establishing the fact-finding mission and other UNHRC documents (posted on its website) predetermine that the purpose of the flotilla was to bring humanitarian assistance. However, our information, including statements made by IHH head Bülent Yildirim and Free Gaza Movement internal documents, clearly prove that the flotilla's objectives were blatantly political: confronting Israel, isolating it and goading foreign governments to take steps to punish it. Our conclusion according to the information is that the emphasis on the so-called "humanitarian goal" of the flotilla was, from its organizers' perspective, lip-service meant for the ears of the human rights workers and pro-Palestinian organizations and activists who participated in it.4

10. In addition, the language of the resolution establishing the fact-finding mission is prejudicial and hostile to Israel and presupposes guilt, unilaterally adopting the claims of Hamas, IHH and other anti-Israel organizations and institutions. For example, the Gaza Strip is referred to as "occupied Gaza," and operatives of IHH and other Turkish organizations who were aboard the Mavi Marmara are referred to as "innocent civilians" (despite the fact that the hard core included extremist Islamists and that most of those killed had announced their desire to die as shaheeds, martyrs for the sake of Allah).


1 For further information see the March 15, 2010 bulletin, Hamas and the Terrorist Threat from the Gaza Strip. The Main Findings of the Goldstone Report Versus the Factual Findings, pp 12-13.

2  http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/14session/RES.14.1_AEV.pdf

3  For further information see the August 23, 2010 bulletin, Examination of the weapons and equipment found on the Mavi Marmara indicates that preparations had been made in advance for an active confrontation with IDF soldiers.  

4  For further information see the June 27, 2010  bulletin, Inside documents of the Free Gaza movement seized in the recent flotilla expose considerable discrepancies between its strategy and tactics and its public stance.

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