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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Turkel excerpt on specifics of Mavi Marmara shots

Here is more from the Turkel Report that demolishes the idea that it is a whitewash. In addition, it destroys the assumption of the IHH and "activists" that people who were shot in the top of their heads were shot from the helicopter.

Estimating the number of shots fired that actually hit their target is very difficult. From the military debriefings, it appears that, during the course of the operation on the Mavi Marmara, the Israeli forces discharged 308 rounds (from the soldiers' testimonies, it appears that 110 rounds were shot aimed at persons; an estimated 39 hits were identified by the soldiers; out of which an estimated 16 participants were injured by shots to the center of mass), 87 bean bags, and 264 paint ball rounds. The number of rounds fired does not in and of itself imply that the use of force was excessive. From the soldiers’ testimonies, it appears that a significant number of rounds were not fired directly at IHH activists. The IDF applied a graduated use of force, including the use of warning shots and deterring fire.

When appropriate to limit the chance of causing death or serious injury, the Israeli military's graduated use of force also provides for firing at the legs and feet of a person. This use of force appears to have resulted in the wounding of a number of the IHH activists. In determining whether such disabling fire is excessive, it must be weighed against the alternative of shooting at the center of visible mass of the target, with increased likelihood of death or serious injury.

The evidence shows that the IDF soldiers made considerable use of graduated force during the operation, with soldiers switching repeatedly between less-lethal and lethal weapons, depending upon the threat being posed.

The Commission has reached the conclusion that the Israeli army did not fire any rounds from the helicopter. The only force that was used on the helicopters were 3-4 “flash bang” grenades that were deployed from the first helicopter in the initial stages of the fast roping to attempt to stop IHH activists from interfering with the ropes. The accurate use of firearms from a helicopter requires both specific equipment and specially trained personnel, with which the helicopters were not equipped.

A high angle of the trajectory of wounds in some deceased IHH activists could have been the result of a number of factors. First, some firing took place under circumstances where IHH activists were on top of or bent over one Israeli soldier who was lying on the deck while they were assaulting him. Secondly, firing also took place from the roof down towards the IHH activists who were threatening the IDF soldiers on a lower deck. Finally, in some instances, numerous rounds were fired either by one soldier or by more than one soldier to stop an IHH activist who was a threat to the lives of themselves or other soldiers. It cannot be discounted that some rounds impacted when the person had already started to fall.
The specific testimonies of soldiers are footnoted but that annex has not yet been released. The commission recommended that the annex be released as well.