Israel. On May 31, the Israeli Navy stormed the
international aid convoy "Ship to Gaza", en route with
supplies to the closed Gaza Strip, killing nine Turkish
activists. On board the six ships of the convoy were
hundreds of activists from 32 countries, including eleven
from Sweden. When Israeli commandos, via helicopters and
warships, attacked and boarded the vessels on international
waters, they met aboard the Turkish ship "Mavi Marmara"
activists armed with knives and guns, firing at them and
forcing the vessels into the Israeli port city of Ashdod.
Dozens of injured activists were taken to hospitals. Many
others, including seven Swedes, were arrested, interrogated
and released after a few days.
has a population of 8.884 million (2018). The outside world protested in harsh terms and UN
Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon said he was shocked by the
shooting deaths. UN Human Rights Council The UNHRC found in
an investigation that Israel had violated the Geneva
Convention and other international law through willful
killing, torture and inhuman treatment. According to the UN
body, the violence was "totally unnecessary and
inconceivable". Israel believed that the soldiers acted in
self-defense and that the embarkation was necessary because
otherwise it threatened to break the blockade against the
Gaza Strip. But according to the report, the blockade was
also a violation of international law. An Israeli
investigation, led by retired Major General Giora Eiland,
determined that the soldiers who boarded the vessels had
been ill-prepared and that cooperation with the intelligence
service Mossad had failed;
Dramat deteriorated the already frozen relationship with
the former ally Turkey, who called his ambassador from
Israel, imposed a ban on Israeli military flight in Turkish
airspace and demanded damages and a public apology from
Israel, something the Israelis refused to give. In January,
Israel had apologized for the Deputy Foreign Minister Danny
Avalon humiliating Turkish Ambassador Ahmet Celikkol at a
In January, the government published an investigation
into the Gaza offensive 2008-2009, intended as a response to
the so-called Goldstone Report of 2009 in which Israel had
been severely criticized. The new investigators defended the
offensive but admitted that the attack on the UN agency
UNWRA's Gaza City Office had violated the ban on firing
artillery grenades near populated areas. Ban Ki Moon
reported in February that it was unclear whether Israelis
and Palestinians had followed the November 2009 UN
resolution that stated that both sides would launch
"independent, credible and internationally acceptable"
investigations into the Gaza war within three months.
Dubai police reported during the year identifying a
number of Israelis suspected of involvement in the
assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a high ranking
commander of the Islamist Hamas movement, who had been found
murdered in the emirate in January. According to Dubai
police, Mossad was behind the murder. In total, there were
32 suspects who had all traveled to Dubai on fake Western
passports, which caused Australia, Ireland and the United
Kingdom to protest by expelling Israeli diplomats.
In October, the government decided to present a bill that
meant that all new citizens of the country must swear
allegiance to the State of Israel as a "Jewish and
democratic state". Many within the country's Palestinian
minority were critical of the law change.
Amir Makhoul, a Palestinian activist and Israeli citizen,
was sentenced in October to at least seven years in prison
for spying on behalf of the militant Lebanese group of
Hizbullah. Makboul acknowledged what he was accused of, but
said the information he provided was available to anyone on
Moshe Katsav, president in 2000-07, was sentenced on
December 30 for two cases of rape against his employees. The
sentence was expected to be at least four years in prison.
In May, Israel was welcomed as a new member of the OECD's
42 people were killed in forest fires that ravaged near
Haifa in northern Israel for four days in early December.