Israel sets up independent inquiry into Gaza flotilla raid
(WJC)–The Israel Cabinet has unanimously voted to up an independent public inquiry into the deadly raid on one of the ships of the ‘Gaza Freedom Flotilla’ a fortnight ago, in which nine people were killed. The inquiry will be headed by the former Israel Supreme Court judge Jacob Turkel. The former first minister of Northern Ireland and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Lord David Trimble as well as the former Canadian lawyer Ken Watkin will be non-voting members on the commission. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the decision would “make it clear to the world that Israel is acting legally, responsibly, and with complete transparency.”
The other Israeli members will be international law professor Shabtai Rosen and the retired IDF major-general Amos Horev. Under the terms of its mandate, the commission will consider the security circumstances for imposing a naval blockade on the Gaza Strip and the conformity of the naval blockade with the rules of international law, the conformity of the actions taken by Israel to the principles of international law, and the actions taken by those who organized and participated in the flotilla.
Israel’s government said in a statement that the commission would also consider the question of “whether the inquiry and investigation mechanisms vis-à-vis complaints and claims regarding violations of the laws of armed conflict, as followed by Israel in general and as implemented with regard to the event in question, conform with the State of Israel’s obligations under the rules of international law.”
The Obama administration publicly endorsed the Israeli decision: “The structure and terms of reference of Israel’s proposed independent public commission can meet the standard of a prompt, impartial, credible, and transparent investigation,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said in a statement.
Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress.