As last week closed, the NY Times published an article on the official United Nations report on the 2010 Gaza flotilla incident. The report determined that the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza is legal under international law, but that the force that Israel used was “excessive and unreasonable.” Still, it indicated that Israeli commandos faced “organized and violent resistance from a group of passengers”; Israel saw this as a vindication of sorts and a rare victory at the UN.
The UN findings are pretty much as I saw the event at the time. A naval blockade to guard Israel against the shipment of arms into a hostile area, from which numerous attacks have been and continue to be launched on sovereign Israeli territory, is justified and legal. At the same time, something seems to have gone wrong (perhaps in a lack of preparedness by the commandos attacked as they boarded the Mavi Marmara), resulting in nine deaths.
Israel could surely have handled things better, then and now, but Turkey’s behavior may be more influenced by domestic politics and its new strategic orientation toward the Arab world than an objective assessment of the facts.