In a writeup of Israeli responses to the deal with Turkey this week, New York Times reporter Isabel Kershner basically justifies the killings of ten activists on the Turkish boat the Mavi Marmara in 2010. That’s a pattern with the NYT– wait long enough and something controversial that happened in the past will be written up entirely in Israel’s favor.
Israel agreed to pay about $20 million in compensation to the families of 10 pro-Palestinian activists who were killed during a 2010 raid by Israeli naval commandos after they met violent resistance aboard a Turkish passenger vessel as it tried to breach Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip.
There is no sense here that the Israelis boarded a ship bringing aid to Gaza in international waters, at night, with masked commandos dropped from helicopters. The UN said that the flotilla was traveling to Gaza because it was (and is) experiencing a humanitarian crisis, that the attack was “clearly unlawful,” and that six of the ten victims were summarily executed. And if there was violent resistance, it was of an improvised variety. “People picked up what they could to defend themselves against armed, masked commandos who were shooting,” the Guardian quoted a passenger saying. The UN Human Rights Council also said (in a report unassisted by the Israelis):
The conduct of the Israeli military and other personnel towards the flotilla passengers was not only disproportionate to the occasion but demonstrated levels of totally unnecessary and incredible violence. It betrayed an unacceptable level of brutality.
Kershner gives the views of Israelis who think this was a surrender to Hamas. Israeli Jewish views from right to far right are given. Nothing from the Israeli human rights groups. Later there is a brief mention of the blockade, in a quote from Ahmed Yousef, an adviser to Hamas leader Ismail Haniya. And one sentence saying, “In Gaza, there was a sense that the deal offered some hope but fell short of what Hamas wanted.”
In short, the suffering caused by the blockade to Gazans doesn’t matter enough to treat in its own right–instead, Kershner sees it as something that hurts Hamas and something that Hamas wants lifted. Palestinians and their demands to be treated as though their basic rights mattered are seen by Kershner only in terms of what Hamas wants. That’s how you justify the blockade.
While there are repeated references by name to the Israelis whose bodies are being held in Gaza since the 2014 conflict, there is no mention of the ten Turkish victims of the commando attack by name.
So six years later the NY Times will totally adopt the Israeli version of events if they think they can get away with it. Is this a conscious decision or just how they think? It hardly matters in the end.