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They said Sunday the raid was doomed from the beginning, and should be blamed on whoever ordered it and the top commanders. It was wrong for the government to blame the organizers of the flotilla, they said.
In a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi the group of top Israeli Navy reserves officers publicly called on Israel to agree to an external independent investigation into the events of last week.
The Navy officers said, "We believe that the operation ended in a disaster on a military and diplomatic level."
"We disagree with the widespread claims that this was the result of an intelligence rift," the officers said. "In addition, we do not accept claims that this was a 'public relations failure' and we think that the plan was doomed to failure from the beginning."
"First and foremost, we protest the fact that responsibility for the tragic results was immediately thrust onto the organizers of the flotilla," wrote the the reserve officers who served as commanders of Navy ships. "This demonstrates contempt for the responsibility that belongs principally to the hierarchy of commanders and those who approved the mission. This shows contempt for the values of professionalism, the purity of weapons and for human lives."
IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi said in a press conference Monday that the violence aboard the Mavi Marmara, one of the ships of the Gaza-bound protest flotilla, was instigated by those aboard the ships and that soldiers who opened fire were defending themselves.
Ashkenazi noted that the Mavi Marmara, the only ship on which violence took place, was different than the other five ships of the flotilla. He said that five ships carried humanitarians and peace activists but the Mavi Marmara was sponsored by the extremist organization the IHH and those aboard acted in "extreme violence."