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.


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