Website policy

We provide links to articles we think will be of interest to our supporters. We are sympathetic to much of the content of what we post, but not to everything. The fact that something has been linked to here does not necessarily mean that we endorse the views expressed in it.


BSST is the leading charity focusing on small-scale grass roots cross community, anti poverty and humanitarian projects in Israel/Palestine

JfJfP comments


06 May: Tair Kaminer starts her fifth spell in gaol. Send messages of support via Reuven Kaminer

04 May: Against the resort to denigration of Israel’s critics


23 Dec: JfJfP policy statement on BDS

14 Nov: Letter to the Guardian about the Board of Deputies

11 Nov: UK ban on visiting Palestinian mental health workers

20 Oct: letter in the Guardian

13 Sep: Rosh Hashanah greetings

21 Aug: JfJfP on Jeremy Corbyn

29 July: Letter to Evening Standard about its shoddy reporting

24 April: Letter to FIFA about Israeli football

15 April: Letter re Ed Miliband and Israel

11 Jan: Letter to the Guardian in response to Jonathan Freedland on Charlie Hebdo


15 Dec: Chanukah: Celebrating the miracle of holy oil not military power

1 Dec: Executive statement on bill to make Israel the nation state of the Jewish people

25 Nov: Submission to All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism

7 Sept: JfJfP Executive statement on Antisemitism

3 Aug: Urgent disclaimer

19 June Statement on the three kidnapped teenagers

25 April: Exec statement on Yarmouk

28 Mar: EJJP letter in support of Dutch pension fund PGGM's decision to divest from Israeli banks

24 Jan: Support for Riba resolution

16 Jan: EJJP lobbies EU in support of the EU Commission Guidelines, Aug 2013–Jan 2014


29 November: JfJfP, with many others, signs a "UK must protest at Bedouin expulsion" letter

November: Press release, letter to the Times and advert in the Independent on the Prawer Plan

September: Briefing note and leaflet on the Prawer Plan

September: JfJfP/EJJP on the EU guidelines with regard to Israel

14th June: JfJfP joins other organisations in protest to BBC

2nd June: A light unto nations? - a leaflet for distribution at the "Closer to Israel" rally in London

24 Jan: Letter re the 1923 San Remo convention

18 Jan: In Support of Bab al-Shams

17 Jan: Letter to Camden New Journal about Veolia

11 Jan: JfJfP supports public letter to President Obama

Comments in 2012 and 2011



International law and the attack on the flotilla

cifWho will bring Israel to book over flotilla attack?

This was almost certainly a breach of international law and Turkey has the right to take charge of a criminal investigation

Daniel Machover, 2 June 2010

Will the rule of law be applied to Israel this time? In principle, it is unlawful for a state to enforce a blockade against ships that are flying the flag of another state on the high seas. The only exceptions to this would be if the blockade were mandated by the UN security council acting under chapter VII of the UN charter. The basic principle under customary international law as regards ships in international waters was set out by the permanent court of international justice in the SS Lotus case (1927):

“… vessels on the high seas are subject to no authority except that of the state whose flag they fly. In virtue of the principle of the freedom of the seas, that is to say, the absence of any territorial sovereignty upon the high seas, no state may exercise any kind of jurisdiction over foreign vessels upon them.”

While international law does allow for exceptions to the above rule, entitling warships to interfere with ships flying the flag of another state while in international waters in limited circumstances, those exceptions do not apply to the events of 31 May. Indeed, a 1988 treaty (to which Israel is a party) criminalises the unlawful and intentional seizure or exercise of control over a ship by force, and all connected injuries or deaths.

If the Israeli boarding of the ship was illegal, then arguably the passengers were entitled to act in self-defence against the invading commandos. If so, they could use reasonable force to defend themselves, the amount of force permitted being determined by Turkish law.

And that is the point: it is clearly Turkish criminal law that can and should predominate from this point on. The Mavi Marmara is a Turkish-registered ship and was travelling peacefully in international waters when Israeli forces boarded it. At least one of the dead civilians is reportedly a Turkish citizen. The Turkish authorities have the absolute right to assert that their criminal justice system take sole charge of a criminal investigation.

Turkey is therefore perfectly entitled to demand that all evidence, including the identity of all Israeli naval and other forces, is handed over to its criminal justice authorities for a full investigation and that Israel allow Turkish law enforcement officials unimpeded access to the Israeli suspects. Israel is after all a party to the 1959 European convention on mutual assistance in criminal matters.

If Israel were to refuse, the UN security council, if concerned about a threat to international peace and security, could then back Turkish and international demands to this effect in a chapter VII resolution. The question therefore arises: will Turkey and the international community require Israel to comply with the rule of law on this occasion?

Print Friendly

Comments are closed.