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In the complex geometry slowly taking shape in the new Middle East, the Palmer report must have felt like a godsend to Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The report criticises Israel's recourse to excessive force in what has become known as the flotilla incident. But beyond that, the report vindicates Israel and chastises Turkey. For a start it states unambiguously that Israeli commandos acted in self-defence when they faced "significant, organised and violent resistance from a group of passengers when they boarded the Mavi Marmara requiring them to use force for their own protection."

The Palmer report goes on to declare Israel's naval blockade legal as a measure of self-defence under the UN Charter. It says that the flotilla was a provocation with no other purpose than picking a fight and it criticises Turkey for its failure to prevent it sailing from its ports. And it asks probing questions about the Turkish government's connections with IHH (Foundation for  Human Rights, Freedom and Humanitarian Relief), the NGO behind the flotilla, and faults Israel only for a tactical blunder.

Considering that Turkey initially endorsed the Palmer Commission and its mandate, a careful reader of the report may find Erdogan's rejection to be hysterical: the prime minister has chosen to defy the UN secretary-general, who commissioned the report, by declaring it null and void. Clearly, at the very least such a response spares Erdogan the need to answer its criticisms. It also enables him to escalate Turkey's dispute with Israel by threatening to send warships to break the blockade — with predictably disastrous consequences. Turkey's gunboat diplomacy will trigger a war with Israel and Erdogan must know this.

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