Monday, June 7, 2010

U.S. blocks Security Council criticism of Israeli raid

U.S. blocks Security Council criticism of Israeli raid

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Israel faced heavy criticism in an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council on Monday in response to its deadly attack on an aid flotilla trying to breach the Gaza blockade, but attempts to issue a formal statement stalled after the United States rejected the strong condemnation sought by Turkey.

Turkey proposed a statement that would condemn Israel for violating international law, demand a U.N. investigation and demand that Israel prosecute those responsible for the raid and pay compensation to the victims. It also called for the end of the blockade.

The Obama administration refused to endorse a statement that singled out Israel, and proposed a broader condemnation of the violence that would include the assault of the Israeli commandos as they landed on the deck of the ship.

While condemnation of Israel in the Security Council is not uncommon, the criticism at the emergency session by Turkey and Lebanon was notable for both its vehemence and for the broad array of countries demanding an independent investigation into the decision to fire on civilians in what they described as a humanitarian mission.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu of Turkey, whose country's once close relations with Israel have deteriorated markedly since Israel's invasion of Gaza in 2008, called the attack "tantamount to banditry and piracy; it is murder conducted by a state."

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