Despite Palmer Report conclusions, Guardian still calls Israel’s blockade of Gaza ‘illegal’

In September 2011, the UN released their long-awaited Palmer Report – a 105 page document based on research and hearings conducted over the course of more than a year.

The report concluded that Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza is “LEGAL“, “appropriate”, and consistent with international law.

The report stated: 

“Israel faces a real threat to its security from militant groups in Gaza. The naval blockade was imposed as a legitimate security measure in order to prevent weapons from entering Gaza by sea and its implementation complied with the requirements of international law.”

“The Panel therefore concludes that Israel’s naval blockade was legal.”

I predicted at the time that the Guardian – whose coverage of the flotilla incident on May 31 represented a reckless journalistic rush to judgment (there were 71 separate reports or commentaries, almost exclusively critical of Israel over four days) – would either downplay or totally ignore the report’s findings. 

True to form, the following is a section from the Guardian’s editor’s note, meant to introduce their Gaza Live Blog on June 8.

In addition to ignoring the Palmer Report’s determinations regarding the legality of Israel’s blockade, the Guardian also ignored the report’s conclusions regarding the charge of “collective punishment”:

“Important humanitarian considerations constrain the imposition of a naval blockade. For one, it would be illegal if its imposition was intended to starve or to collectively punish the civilian population. However, there is no material before the Panel that would permit a finding confirming the allegations that Israel had either of those intentions or that the naval blockade was imposed in retaliation for the take-over of Hamas in Gaza or otherwise. On the contrary, it is evident that Israel had a military objective. The stated primary objective of the naval blockade was for security. It was to prevent weapons, ammunition, military supplies and people from entering Gaza and to stop Hamas operatives sailing away from Gaza with vessels filled with explosives.”

What is the basis for the Guardian’s decision to ignore the unambiguous conclusions of the Palmer Report exonerating Israel?

They don’t say. No alternative legal source is given. 

Finally, the editor’s note concludes with this risible claim.

Is there even a slim possibility that the Guardian editor who wrote this passage truly believes that anything pertaining to Israel published on their pages could be characterized as an exercise in objective reporting?

Let’s roll the video tape.

41 replies »

    • Has Adam Levick really read the report? Probably not. Has the Guardian read the report? Clearly they have.

      The Palmer report clearly states that the naval blockade on Gaza is legal, but that the remaining components of the blockade are illegal. Preventing people and goods from circulating between Gaza and the rest of the Palestinian territory is illegal.

      • Please provide a citation from the report for your assumption. Or did you invent it?

        • The Palmer Report is a public document which you may consult as you wish. As it was made widely available, there is no reason to use citations and quotations every time one refers to it.

          • Fritz is right – there is an obligation to point to that portion of the Palmer Report which is being cited when one is making a finding based upon it. That should be very easy to do when the citation exists. It is of course an impossibility when the citation cannot be found by any diligent research.

            In the interests of being helpful to all parties, the Report reviews the circulation of goods in Gaza impacted by the blockade at 147-156. Nowhere in that stretch does it support Benyamin’s assertion that “the remaining components of the blockade are illegal” except, as Fritz suggests, as an “assumption” on the part of Benyamin.

            To Benyamin’s point, paragraph 151 states that the blockade, as it was then maintained, was “unsustainable, unacceptable, and not in the interests of any of those concerned.” Israel’s adjustment of goods made available through the land-delivery points since the incident are an indication that these points of the Palmer Report were acknowledged.

            In short – saying things that aren’t true doesn’t help. Benyamin over-reached in his attempt to portray Israel negatively but does not and cannot provide any citation for his argument from the Report because his assertion is non-existent. Fritz has not helped by saying “prove it” when it is not difficult to show where Benyamin has failed.

            • Probably why he has not replied.

              As soon as the anti-semites are confronted with the inconvenient truth, they run a mile.

          • 99.9 percent of people reading anything will not consult the source of a claim, even if it is a public document. Spreading lies based on false claims without supporting evidence is a classic propaganda ploy used by the anti-Israel crowd, knowing that 99.9% of people will not check their sources.

          • The Palmer report does conclude that the Israeli blockade on Gaza is illegal, save for the maritime part of the blockade.

            This means that Israel has the right to screen all ships sailing towards Gaza (but not necessarily to block them entirely), but does not have the right to close land crossings which, before the blockade, were used by Palestinians to circulate between the West Bank and Gaza.

            Please note that these crossings have always been equipped with technology that enables Israel to check that people going through the crossings do not carry weapons or anything that could endanger Israel.

            • Does the Palmer Report conclude that? Argumentum ad asinum.
              Sea blockade is legal, land blockade illegal? The use of logical thinking must be nowadays a privilege for few in Great Britain

      • In pronouncing itself on the legality of the naval blockade, the Palmer commission has not recognized the naval blockade as an integral part of Israel’s closure policy toward Gaza which has a disproportionate impact on the human rights of civilians.

        It declared the naval part of the blockade to be legal, but not the blockade itself.

        • Naturally during WWII Britain had regular ferry service between Southampton and Hamburg. To close it down would have been against international law. So even as the bombs were falling on London, one could see cheerful groups of Hitler youth on holiday inspecting the damage.

  1. The Guardian takes the Lewis Carroll attitude to Israel. Whether it is guilty or innocent is quite irrelevant, the verdict is inevitable.

    ) The Mouse’s Tale

    Fury said to a mouse,
    That he met in the house,
    ‘Let us both go to law: I will prosecute you.
    — Come, I’ll take no denial
    We must have a trial:
    For really this morning I’ve nothing to do.’
    Said the mouse to the cur,
    ‘Such a trial, dear Sir,
    With no jury or judge,
    would be wasting our breath.’
    ‘I’ll be judge, I’ll be jury,
    ‘ Said cunning old Fury:
    ‘I’ll try the whole cause,
    .and condemn you to death.’

    • Exactly. Same with the Guardian’s insistence that Tel Aviv is Israel’s capital. Whether it is actually true or not is irrelevant to the Guardian’s editorial policy, only that it conforms to their world-view – blame the Jews, blame Israel for everything bad in the world, ignore any evidence to the contrary, distort or fabricate stories to prove their point when they feel like it.

      The Guardian really is an awful and unreliable news source that I would not trust to report the weather accurately. Their anti-Israel and antisemitic bias affects every part of the newspaper and its associated website, down to the cultural reports and sports section. Many of The Guardian’s readers, at least the ones that contribute regularly to Comment is Free, are shameless antisemites. The only regret I will feel on the day that it shuts down for good is that CIF Watch will need a new name and updated mission to continue. Sadly, there are so many Jew haters and anti-Zionists in this world that it will be an easy task.

      • Under international law, Tel Aviv is Israel’s capital. This is why all foreign embassies, including the American embassy, are located in Tel Aviv.

        West Jerusalem is destined to become the internationally recognized capital of Israel pending peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority and an end to the occupation of East Jerusalem.

        • Nat can you inform me which ‘International Law’ has decided where the capital city of a country should be?

          Chapter and verse or a link to it will be sufficient.

          • A country cannot choose as capital a city that is not located on its own territory.

            The USA cannot decide that Toronto is its capital, since Toronto is in Canada, not in the USA.

            Israel cannot decide that all of Jerusalem is its capital since only West Jerusalem is in Israel, and East Jerusalem is in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt)..

            • Nat I’ll ask you again.
              Which ‘International Law’ has decided where the capital city of a country should be?

              You made the following claim in your post above;
              “Under international law, Tel Aviv is Israel’s capital.”
              So, again, either chapter and verse or a link to the relevant section of ‘International Law’ that has decided where the capital city of a country should be.

          • United Nations Security Council Resolution 478, adopted on 20 August 1980, declared Israel’s 1980 Jerusalem Law a violation of international law, and states that the Council will not recognize this law, and calls on member states to accept the decision of the council. This resolution also calls upon member states to withdraw their diplomatic missions from the city. The law declared Jerusalem to be Israel’s “complete and united” capital.

            This resolution was fully enforced and to this day, 100% of foreign embassies to Israel are located in Tel Aviv, including the American embassy.

            • Nat I’ve read carefully the Resolution you cite and I can’t find in it where it stipulates that, as you claimed above, Tel Aviv is Israel’s capital under ‘International Law’.

              Also your claim that “100% of foreign embassies to Israel are located in Tel Aviv” is wrong as well. I suggest you check out that claim for yourself, it only takes a few minutes.

              • 100% of foreign embassies to Israel are located in Tel Aviv, including the American embassy. This is a fact.

                The Foreign representations in West Jerusalem are consulates, not embassies. Consulates are located in a country’s major cities, while embassies are located in a country’s capital. Embassies to the USA are located in Washington, while consulates are located in Miami or Los Angeles.

                Foreign representations to the Palestinian Authority are located in East Jerusalem or Ramallah.

                • Nat – we’ve had this argument before. Fine – don’t accept that the “complete and united” Jerusalem is not Israel’s capital as Israel claims it to be.

                  I acknowledge that that is the effect of the UN resolution you refer to. BUT – and this is the crucial point – the UN can object to one city being named Israel’s capital, but it has absolutely no power to decide another city IS.

                  The foreign embassies are located in Tel Aviv because that is the biggest city, the financial centre etc and for political reasons they won’t locate in Jerusalem. THAT DOES NOT MAKE TEL AVIV ISRAEL’S CAPITAL CITY.

                  If the Guardian (and others) were to say “Israel has no recognised capital city under international law” I could accept that as true. But NOBODY other than the Israeli government has the power to randomly decide that Tel Aviv is Israel’s capital. NOBODY.

                  Got it yet?

                  • Even if all of the international community agrees that jerusalem is not Israel’s capital, they have reacted in two different ways.

                    Some countries concluded that Tel Aviv was Israel’s capital, as it is where all foreign embassies to Israel are located, and it is where several Israeli ministries are located (e.g. the ministry of defense).

                    Other countries concluded that Israel has no capital to this day.

                    That said, it would mean that Israel isthe only country in the world without a capital.

                    • The President of Israel lives in Jerusalem.

                      When the foreign ambassadors take up post they have to present their credentials to the Israeli President.

                      Do you think he goes to Tel Aviv or do they go to Jerusalem?

                      (Clue, they go to Jerusalem.)

                    • Doug, this does not change the fact that 100% of foreign embassies are located in Tel Aviv, as Jerusalem is not recognized as the Israel’s capital by any country in the world.

                      When foreign diplomats want to talk with the Minister of Defense, they go to Tel Aviv, where the ministry of Defense is located.

                    • Your incessant whining about the location of foreign embassies is entirely irrelevant. A nation’s capital is not determined by where foreign governments choose to set up shop. It is determined by the government of that nation itself.

                      It’s interesting, isn’t it, that you say Israel cannot have Jerusalem as its capital because the final status of Jerusalem is unsettled, and a country can’t have its capital in territory that does not belong to it. You further cite the location of foreign embassies as evidence of a phantom captial in Tel Aviv, and at the same time say that “foreign representations to the Palestinian Authority are located in East Jerusalem…”

                      I hope you are not suggesting that East Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine? How can a (non-existent) country have a capital in a city that doesn’t belong to it and of which the final status is yet to be settled?

                      As for the Defence Ministry, the UK government is currently moving many of its ministries from London to Manchester, Sheffield etc in an attempt to save money. Does that mean that the capital of England is now uncertain? Absurd.

                • Nat no you are wrong.
                  “100% of foreign embassies to Israel are located in Tel Aviv, including the American embassy. This is a fact. ”

                  That statement is factually incorrect. There are countries with Embassies to Israel where the Embassy is not in Tel Aviv.

                  I’m still waiting for chapter and verse or a link from you to the section of ‘International Law’ that says Tel Aviv is Israel’s capital. Have you found it yet?

                  • 100% of foreign embassies to Israel are located in Tel Aviv, including the American embassy. This is a fact.

                    Or… could you let us know which are these ghost embassies to Israel which would be located in Jerusalem?

                    • Nat I’m still waiting for the chapter and verse or link to the relevant section of ‘International Law’ that says Tel Aviv is Israel’s capital.

                      Have you found it yet?
                      Or are you still writing it yourself?

                    • The actual fact is that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. It is the seat of Israel’s national government and the Knesset and most other important government buildings and agencies can be found there, not in Tel Aviv. Whether this is legal under international law or not, anyone could verify this to be true by going there and seeing for themselves. One could call this the “illegal” capital of Israel, or wish that it weren’t so, but – surprise – it is, and for the moment Jew haters around the world have to deal with that.

                      The fact that foreign countries refuse to recognize Jerusalem as the capital and/or insist on having their embassies placed in Tel Aviv does not, de facto, make Tel Aviv the capital of Israel. As I and others have pointed out before, this insistence on something that just is not so is either lying, delusional or just wishful thinking. I would say it is lying, as is referring to the “Tel Aviv government” or Tel Aviv as a journalistic stand-in for Jerusalem.

                      I can’t think of another example, ever, in which foreign countries designated the capital of a sovereign nation as different from the actual capital. In most cases I would say that the reason for placing foreign embassies in Tel Aviv is pure politics and has nothing to do with recognition per se. For example, the US Congress has voted to move its embassy to Jerusalem, only to have this repeatedly deferred by Presidential order. But, no matter.

                      In any case, even countries that consider the status of the eastern part of Jerusalem a matter for negotiations accept the reality that the western part of the city is part of Israel and will remain so. Considering that Israel’s government has been is western Jerusalem, the motive for denial of its status as capital cannot be that it is on disputed territory. Rather, it is just another attempt to delegitimize the state of Israel by Jew haters around the world. There are plenty of them, and quite a few work for the Guardian.

                      So, I would advise all – don’t waste your time any further on this stupid, stupid discussion. We all know exactly what the situation is, and no amount of wasted words will change any of the facts of the matter.

                    • This is hilarious! Gerald is basically telling us that he’s right but that “nay, I will not quote any source to prove what I’m claiming”.

                      Of course Tel Aviv is considered as the capital of Israel abroad. Only Israel considers Jerusalem to be its capital, which was never recognized by the international community since East Jerusalem was unilaterally annexed by Israel in violation of international law in 1967. There’s even a Security Council resolution highlighting that this annexation is in violation of international law.

                      Even the embassy of the United States, Israel’s closest ally, is in Tel Aviv !

                    • Benyamin clearly you have not read all the posts on this thread or at least not understood them.
                      Let me try and put it simply so that even you can understand it.
                      Nat is claiming that ‘International Law’ has decided that Tel Aviv is Israel’s capital.
                      Nat’s post of June 18, 2012 at 3.03 am;
                      “Under international law, Tel Aviv is Israel’s capital.”

                      I have several times asked Nat to provide chapter and verse or a link to the relevant section of this alleged ‘International Law’.
                      Nat has not provided chapter and verse or links to this alleged ‘Law’

                    • “I can’t think of another example, ever, in which foreign countries designated the capital of a sovereign nation as different from the actual capital.”

                      I can’t think of another country which declared as its capital a city of which it owns only half.

                      Jerusalem is not in Israel, West Jerusalem is. East Jerusalem is Palestinian territory.

                      That said, no one prevents Israel from declaring West Jerusalem its capital, it would be lawful under international law.

                    • The old Jewish East Jerusalem, where the Jewish inhabitants were driven out in 1948, the old synagogues and houses were destroyed, archaeological traces vanished and Arabs moved in.

                  • As wrong as he is about the rest, Nat is correct about that. El Salvador moved their embassy to Tel Aviv 3 or 4 years ago and they were the last country to have an embassy in Jerusalem. South Sudan has announced they will be opening their embassy in Jerusalem but currently there are none.

                    • Fritz, in 1967 the Israeli army razed the Mugrahbi Quarter to the ground, including a very ancient mosque, in what is known among Jerusalem archaeologists as the 1967 catastrophy.

                      When it comes to destroying archaeological remains in the Old City, both Israelis and Palestinians can claim a title.

      • Leo d H.

        The day CIF shuts down, along with the Graun, will be a day of rejoicing but of course the antisemites will move to another Website.
        Jew-haters and anti-Zionists need a scapegoat to lend meaning to their existence, but conversely, I’m beginning to think some of us need antisemites in the same unhealthy way…

        • Yes, they will move to another website, but I hope it would be at least one less “newspaper” bankrolling them. As for some of us needing antisemites, it is an interesting point although, speaking for myself, I would be perfectly happy for them to disappear.

          The problem is that they will not disappear, and the consequences of their activities are more than just evil words. Jews and their homes, businesses, synagogues and schools are at risk in much of the world. Even when they would not dream of committing violent acts against Jews themselves, the words of the antisemites incite violence against Jews. Have you ever been to a synagogue in the UK? There is a reason why the security is tighter than Ft. Knox, and it isn’t because there is gold inside.

          And then there is the matter of Israel, the subject of every bit of Jew hatred in the world. Sometimes I ask myself why they hate Israel so much and I think of a variety of reasons why this is so. And then I realize, I am wasting my time – it’s mostly just irrational Jew hatred, a form of mental illness that never seems to go away. Anyone who thinks for a moment that Israel and its citizens have not lived in perpetual danger throughout its existence are either delusional or lying. Feeding this, of course, is the anti-Zionism and often blatant antisemitism of The Guardian and its ilk.

          It is a bit unhealthy to focus on antisemites, and it does seem a bit paranoid, but there they are everywhere you go. They are in places where there are Jews, where there used to be Jews and even where there were never any Jews. They come in every race and nationality, and some of the most objectionable of all are Jews themselves – or more likely former Jews or people who had Jewish ancestors who use their link to Judaism as a claim to knowing better. Some call themselves Nazis, some call themselves liberals, but as Tom Lehrer once said – everyone hates the Jews.

          So, need them or not, the Jew haters are here whether we like it or not. Personally, I try not to spend my entire day dwelling on that fact, although I easily could.

  2. The Guardian is absolute right, because it’s not talking about the naval blockade – like Palmer does – but about the overall blockade.

    “U.N. experts say Israel’s blockade of Gaza illegal

    The so-called Palmer Report on the Israeli raid of May 2010 that killed nine Turkish activists said earlier this month that Israel had used unreasonable force in last year’s raid, but its naval blockade of the Hamas-ruled strip was legal. A panel of five independent U.N. rights experts reporting to the U.N. Human Rights Council rejected that conclusion, saying the blockade had subjected Gazans to collective punishment in “flagrant contravention of international human rights and humanitarian law. …

    In pronouncing itself on the legality of the naval blockade, the Palmer Report does not recognize the naval blockade as an integral part of Israel’s closure policy toward Gaza which has a disproportionate impact on the human rights of civilians,” they said in a joint statement. An earlier fact-finding mission named by the same U.N. forum to investigate the flotilla incident also found in a report last September that the blockade violated international law. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says the blockade violates the Geneva Conventions.”