University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law, Vol. 33, no. 2, Winter 2011, p. 615-662
This Article provides a critical assessment of the crisis between Israel and Turkey, the two most prominent military powers in the Eastern Mediterranean region. It concerns the Israeli blockade over the Gaza Strip. This Article critically analyzes the Turkish-led position that has been adopted by governments worldwide, including Arab governments, human rights NGOs, and several organs of the United Nations, in their joint critique of the Israeli blockade or siege policy towards Gaza. This topic is especially pertinent given the backdrop of Israel’s recent litigious enforcement of its naval blockade in international waters. The Article separately evaluates both countries’ behaviors in these recent events. It also admits the need to discretely assess Israel’s blockade policy over Gaza at land, air, and sea. The Article cautions against Turkey’s rather weak legal reasoning in framing Israel’s legal regime, ab initio, as belligerent occupation law, absent armed conflict towards Hamas-led Gaza, thereby missing the opportunity to assess Israel’s adherence to the laws of armed conflicts more accurately. This Article unveils Turkey’s oblique denial of Israel’s lawful right to self defense by failing to correctly analyze Israel’s application of the laws of armed conflicts towards Hamas.