Saeb Erakat said the UN report "violates international law, because the Gaza Strip is still under Israeli occupation"
Israel's 42-year occupation of the Palestinian territories that has followed on from the 1967 Six Day War shames the world, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat, seen here in 2008, said on Friday. © Abbas Momani - AFP/File
Saeb Erakat said the UN report
Last updated: September 3, 2011

Palestinian Authority criticises UN flotilla report

The Palestinian Authority on Saturday condemned a UN report into a deadly Israeli raid on a Turkish-led aid flotilla as a political document not based on international law.

"This report is terrible and negative. It's a purely political report, it's not legal," Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said of the report on the May 2010 raid which killed nine Turkish activists.

"It's a political report that is not based on international law, but on the contrary, it violates international law, because the Gaza Strip is still under Israeli occupation," he told AFP.

"Israel's actions against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip has reached the level of war crimes," he said.

The UN report leaked on Thursday accused Israel of acting with "excessive force" in raiding the six-ship flotilla as it tried to sail to Gaza in breach of an Israeli blockade.

But it endorsed the legality of Israel's naval blockade of the coastal enclave, which the Jewish state says is necessary to prevent the ruling Hamas movement from obtaining weapons.

The raid led to a deep crisis in ties between Israel and Turkey, and the report was delayed several times while the former allies tried to patch up their differences and repair relations.

Turkey demanded Israel apologise for the deaths, compensate the relatives of victims and lift the blockade on Gaza, terms all rejected by the Jewish state.

In the wake of the report's publication, Turkey said it was expelling Israel's ambassador to Ankara and suspending military agreements with the Jewish state.

It also rejected the UN report and warned it would take its case against Israel to the International Criminal Court.

While Hamas said the report was "unjust" and lacked balance, Israel has said it accepts the findings with some reservations, though it has not outlined its specific objections.

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