MK's thwart international probe into flotilla of fools
The Council of Europe is an interparliamentary group consisting of over 500 delegates representing 50 European countries. Israel has observer status at the council, which usually focuses on issues concerning the advancement of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. The Council met this week in Strasbourg and was chaired for the first time by Turkey. Turkey wanted to open an investigation into the flotilla of fools incident. But the Israeli delegation managed to thwart the investigation
(this may sound like a minor item, but it was the second headline on the television news magazine which I heard on the radio as I was driving back to Jerusalem from an out-of-town wedding Thursday night).
Although the Turkish parliamentarian who currently holds the council's rotating preseidency had initally hoped to establish an international probe into Israel's acitons, the resolution ulitmately stopped short of condemning Israel, and while it criticized the continued limited blockade against Gaza, complimented Israel's efforts to reduce the blockade and to establish an internal investigative committee of foreign observers.
The parliamentary delegation was led by Kadima MK Yohanan Plesner, who worked from Tuesday to try and soften the resolution the European organization planned to pass.
“The Turks are opening another front against Israel – this time in Strasbourg, at the Council of Europe,” complained Plesner. “On Monday, they revealed – by surprise – that they wanted to hold a chain of emergency hearings on the flotilla and Gaza. The current president said in an interview with a Turkish newspaper that he wants the Council of Europe to exercise its authority to establish an international probe into the Gaza flotilla.”
The Kadima MK, who has chaired the Israeli delegation to the Council of Europe for 18 months, echoed complaints made by other parliamentary representatives to international bodies that “there is no doubt that there is a trend even among our friends in which Israel is beginning to be perceived as a burden or a cause for embarrassment.
He explained that “the perception of Israel, due to propaganda, is that we are the enemies of liberal values, and here especially, the liberal discourse is very strong. If you are not part of this, you are isolated.”
Plesner continued, “We are trying to present the hypocrisy of the other side, which is taking advantage of the liberal discourse to advance illiberal behavior. I understand that this is partially due to changes within Europe with the increase of the strength of Islam, where parliamentarians feel that they can earn credit with their voters by condemning Israel.”
In our current situation, every victory counts.