Home > Gaza, Israel, Palestinian Authority, United Nations > Netanyahu says U.N. flotilla panel may not interrogate IDF soldiers

Netanyahu says U.N. flotilla panel may not interrogate IDF soldiers

JERUSALEM (WJC)–Israel has threatened to pull out of a UN inquiry into the IDF raid on the Gaza-bound ‘Freedom Flotilla’ after the UN secretary-general said there was no agreement that the panel would refrain from calling Israeli soldiers to testify.

Last week, Jerusalem agreed to participate in the UN probe. Officials said Israel’s agreement was conditional on the panel relying on reports from Israel’s own military inquiry, not direct testimony from IDF soldiers.

However, at a press conference at UN headquarters on Monday, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was asked whether he agreed not to call Israeli soldiers before the panel. “No, there was no such agreement behind the scenes,” he replied.

In response, the Netanyahu’s office issued a harsh statement. “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu makes it absolutely clear that Israel will not cooperate with, and will not take part in, any panel that seeks to interrogate Israeli soldiers.”

The government had appointed the retired senior diplomat Joseph Ciechanover to join the UN panel and was preparing for the start of its deliberations on Tuesday when Ban made his remark, throwing plans into turmoil.

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Tuesday took “full responsibility” for the raid, saying the government had foreseen the potential for violence when it decided to launch the operation. Testifying before the Israeli investigative committee chaired by former Supreme Court Judge Jacob Turkel, Barak said he accepted full responsibility for the instructions given to the military over its interception of six Gaza-bound ships.

“I carry overall responsibility for everything that took place in the systems under my command. I carry responsibility for the orders given on the political level,” Barak told the panel.

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Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress

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