Flotilla: Sweden’s Bildt and other international dimensions

I’m traveling. No time to blog properly. In the meantime, here is an important-looking item:
Swedish FM Carl Bildt says Israel needs the international community to help it get out of the mess it brought upon itself with the flotilla raid. He also says he’s pretty sure the raid was illegal and that Sweden is a strong believer in upholding international law.
This article in TZ has details on the proposal UN Sec-Gen Ban delivered to Turkey and Israel on Saturday. It would be for a five-member investigation commission headed by former New Zealand PM Geoffrey Palmer, who’s an expert in maritime law. Ban himself would choose the other two members, one of whom would almost certainly be American. Israeli PM Netanyahu has turned the proposal down flat.
Last week, the Obama administration’s position was that it wanted to have the Israelis invesitage themselves (!)– but also to have some international presence, which they suggested should be American, involved in the investigation as well.
I cannot imagine what they were thinking! Such an investigation would be an absolute tar-baby for the U.S., because it would have to play some role in making the determination whether to accept Israel’s or Turkey’s view of events.
Bildt’s argument, that the international community should run the investigation, is a far more powerful one.
Turkey’s government is also, importantly, urging that the need for a thorough investigation should not be used as an excuse for delay and for sweeping the matter under the rug. They have urged– and I think Ban has agreed– that the investigation should be completed within two months.
International fallout from the flotilla massacre continues to rock a number of international forums. Right now, Turkey is hosting a summit meeting of the 20-member Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA), of which Israel and various significant big Asian powers are members. Syria’s Pres. Bashar al-Asad is there as an invited guest. Israel has sent only a low-level consular official, fearing a torrent of post-raid criticism if any significant national leader took part.
On Wednesday, Arab League Foreign Ministers will be in İstanbul for the Turkish-Arab Cooperation Forum. The Organization of the Islamic Conference has already been holding a meeting in Saudi Arabia, at which the flotilla raid has been, not surprisingly, a huge issue.
Carl Bildt, in his interview with TZ, said the EU would consider tackling the issue further in its upcoming summit meeting, scheduled for Brussels on June 17. The report also noted this:

    Bildt said this is an international diplomatic crisis, not an issue between two or three countries. “We are still in crisis mode and interviewing our citizens who participated in this aid convoy,” he said, adding that his government is asking for the return of the personal belongings of its citizens seized by the Israeli police. Bildt said 11 Swedish citizens, including a member of parliament from the Green Party, joined the aid flotilla.

I think he’s right. This is certainly not just an issue between Turkey and Israel.

5 thoughts on “Flotilla: Sweden’s Bildt and other international dimensions”

  1. The problem is that there seems to be very strong evidence that Israeli soldiers killed in cold blood, EVEN EXECUTION STYLE. There are even allegations that some wounded were thrown into the ocean. Any investigation is going to have to lead to murder charges, it appears. And that is why Israel and Obama must block it. There are situations which there is no nice way out of. The US and Israel will block anything. THEY HAVE TO. And Ban is essentially a US stooge, so if anything is to happen, there will have to be a lot of pressure from the non-aligned movement, which needs to realize that right now is its historic moment.

  2. Carl Bildt wont exactly be accepted by Israel as a neutral mediator due to his promotion of the story that Israel steals organs and sells them. He already blew his wad
    Netanyahu to Sweden: Condemn IDF organ harvesting article
    Steinitz: Anyone unwilling to condemn such a blood libel could be considered unwanted in Israel.
    By Assaf Uni, Barak Ravid and The Associated Press
    Tags: Israel organ harvesting Israel news Gaza Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday called for the Swedish government to condemn an article in a Stockholm newspaper suggesting Israel Defense Forces troops harvested the organs of Palestinians they killed.
    An official present at the weekly session of the cabinet said Netanyahu told his ministers he did not expect the Swedish government to apologize for the article in the tabloid Aftonbladet but he did expect it to take a stand.
    “We’re not asking the Swedish government for an apology, we’re asking for their condemnation,” the official – speaking on condition of anonymity in keeping with Cabinet rules – quoted Netanyahu as saying.
    The prime minister added that the story was “reminiscent of medieval libels that Jews killed Christian children for their blood,” said the official.
    Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt has already rejected Israeli calls for an official condemnation.
    Some in Jerusalem expressed satisfaction over an entry in the personal blog of Sweden’s foreign minister, which led some here to believe the official stance in Stockholm has softened.
    … [Snip for length reasons… Also, this is an old story, from last fall. Scott, in the future please note the date of any story referred to and include the link rather than pasting in the whole text. ~HC]

  3. “Carl Bildt wont exactly be accepted by Israel as a neutral mediator”
    Oh really? Perhaps you could give an example of somebody who would be accepted by Israel as a neutral mediator?
    “due to his promotion of the story that Israel steals organs and sells them.”
    I think you will find there is a difference between “promoting” a story and refusing to “condemn” an article at the behest of a foreign goverhment. Imagine the precedent this would set – if Netanyahu had to condemn the Israeli press every time it published a fabricated story intended to discredit foreign states or citizens, he would be worked off his feet.

  4. Scott, what is your point?
    If it is that Bildt will prove unacceptable to the Israeli junta, you are almost certainly correct. Who would not? Joe Biden?
    But the Swedish newspaper story has simply been denied. It has not been shown to be false. Despite pleas there has been no investigation of the allegations of organ trafficking and the original article, in common with many other critiques of Israel such as the Goldstoine Report, remains unanswered, though covered with filthy smears.

  5. I suggest Hillary Clinton leads the investigation.
    That way, any and all of her conclusions will be subject to comment by both her friends and opponents, and in the midst of all that, a smidgen of truth will come out.

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