Netanyahu Denies Accepting UN Probe
Israel needs a “responsible, objective” party to look into last week's clash aboard a Gaza-bound flotilla, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told his cabinet Sunday. Netanyahu said he had not accepted a United Nations proposal to set up an international commission of inquiry to investigate the event.
"In my conversation with the UN Secretary-General I revealed what we know about the behavior of the extremist, terrorist-supporting delegation from Turkey [aboard the flotilla – ed.]. I said we would need to see who had organized the delegation and given them supplies, and how they got aboard the ship,” Netanyahu said.
"It is not true that I agreed to his suggestion regarding the investigation,” he continued. “I told him that the facts must be clarified in a responsible, objective manner.”
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon had suggested that Israel accept an international commission, which would be headed by former New Zealand Premier Geoffrey Palmer. A conservative think tank warned Sunday that the UN investigation of the flotilla incident would be a farce, as evidenced by its immediate condemnation of Israel when the story first broke, before all facts were in.
Israel may be suspicious of the UN offer following its experience with the UN-backed Goldstone commission, which investigated Israel's Cast Lead counterterror offensive in Gaza and Hamas's attacks on Israeli civilians. The Goldstone commission harshly condemned Israel, basing its findings on uncorroborated testimony from Gaza Arabs and extreme-left organizations such as B'tselem.
'We're Always Rethinking the Blockade'
Regarding the blockade on Gaza, Netanyahu said Israel has been seeking ways to transfer additional goods to the area for some time, “before the flotilla of hate began its journey.” Israel is always reconsidering the best way to enforce the blockade while minimizing its effect on innocent civilians, he said.
The goal is to “allow civilian and humanitarian goods to get through to the population, while preventing weapons and military supplies from making their way to Hamas,” he explained.
Israel's borders with Gaza have been closed since the Hamas coup of 2007. Food, medicine, and other humanitarian supplies are allowed to enter the area, and Gaza residents who require medical attention are permitted to leave in order to seek treatment in Israel or elsewhere.