8 Jul 2011

Gaza flotilla incident awaited by Israel

9:42 am on 8 July 2011

Israel is reported to be looking forward to the release of the report into the Gaza flotilla attack in May last year, believing it has found Israel did not breach international law.

An inquiry, led by former New Zealand Prime Minister Sir Geoffrey Palmer, is expected to deliver a report to the United Nations within three weeks. It will be published on 27 July.

Eight Turks and a Turkish American were killed by Israeli commandos during a raid on a flotilla carrying aid for Gaza on 31 May.

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, said earlier that previous drafts of the Palmer report indicated the panel would rule mostly in favour of Israel.

"From what we understand, the report justifies the (Gaza) blockade. It says the blockade is legitimate, that Israel took legitimate steps," he told reporters.

Mr Steinitz said the report would include ''minor'' criticism of the operation.

Israel says the blockade is to prevent arms reaching Hamas. Palestinians and their supporters see it as illegal.

An earlier report by the UN Human Rights Council condemned the ship's seizure. Israel says the report was biased.