Following the publication of the Turkel Committee report into the events surrounding the Turkish flotilla to Gaza, senior officers from the Israeli navy addressed the committee's findings and the events aboard the Mavi Marmara ship. They told the navy's official website that each and every thing the commandoes did was necessary.
"The Marmara incident was heroic," Lieutenant Colonel D. a veteran operations officer in the elite commando unit stated. "I am proud to be associated with an operation like this, in which people operated with true heroism. Our mission was to tie up six ships and bring them into harbor - and all six ships were in the Ashdod harbor by morning."
In a conversation with Ynet, military sources expressed their satisfaction with the committee's findings. They determined that had the commandos not operated as they did – the final results would have been more severe. "From my examinations, no commando unit the world would have been able to take over a ship with 700 people on board, some of whom were terrorists," said the navy's international policy officer, who was responsible for the diplomatic aspects of the operation.
"The IHH, which was the chief organizer of the Turkish flotilla, is an extremist organization and its people were very organized and went on board with an unambiguous goal – to kill IDF soldiers, there is no other explanation. We didn't surprise them, we announced that we were coming on deck, they knew everything, there was no secretive aspect, and we arrived on helicopters.
"We thought there would be a reasonable amount of resistance, which is why the commandos were armed with crowd dispersal equipment and with a firearms for emergencies. When they got on the ship, the passengers came at them with knives, axes, clubs and daggers, so there was no doubt about what they had in mind. Not to injure but to kill. They came to kill. There is no other way to interpret axes and knives," said the officer.
The corps' medical officer and the officer in charge of the commandos' doctors, Lieutenant Colonel Dr. A discussed the operation: "In the operation's medical plan, just as in any medical plan, we raised the risk factors by a few levels, which is why I can't remember a navy operation that involved so many senior doctors and the amount of medical equipment…there was never a question of whether to care for the rioters or not," said Dr. A.
"The commandos made every effort to care for and save the lives of the injured rioters, and when I say every effort – I mean it."
The medical team estimates that "the lives of seven rioters were saved and medical complications were avoided in the cases of 12 rioters. In total, 55 wounded passengers received different levels of medical care."
During the takeover the commandos passed through the ship's sections and discovered more wounded people, which created a new problem. "In addition to the fact that some of the rioters refused to cooperate with the commando forces, they were literally hiding the wounded and we needed to actively search the ship for more wounded," revealed Dr. A.
"There was one case where a soldier told them 'listen, there are wounded people here. I want to save their lives, let me save their lives,'" the IDF doctor recalled.
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