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IDF Appoints Flotilla Probe Panel

IDF Chief of Staff Ashkenazi appoints a team of experts to study the flotilla conflict, independent of a possible civilian investigation.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 6/8/2010, 7:42 AM

Israel news photo

IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi late Monday night announced a rare military committee of experts to study the “Sky Winds" naval operation against the flotilla terror activists who tried to reach the embargoed coast of Hamas-controlled Gaza last week.

IDF spokesmen pointed out that the panel differs from an investigative committee and will be comprised of professionals with expertise who were not part of the chain of command that carried out the operation against Muslim terror activists.

Reserve Major Gen. Eiland, who resigned last year from his senior position in the Defense Ministry, will head the team, whose objective is to learn lessons from the counterterrorist operation. The committee has been ordered to present its findin6gs to the Chief of Staff by July 4.

The team's members are reserve officers Brig. Gen. Aviv Kohavi, the former head of the Operations Division, Brig. Gen. Yuval Halamish, former head of the IDF Intelligence and a senior member of the Israeli National Security Council, and Col. Ben Tzion Daabul, the former head of the Israel Navy Operational Branch and a senior figure at the defense establishment's controller's bureau.

The new committee is independent of another possible panel of jurists that the “septet” Inner Cabinet proposed Monday night, depending on its acceptance by the Obama administration. American officials have opposed an investigation of the flotilla United Nations Human Rights Commission, which immediately condemned Israel after the clash on the Mavi Mamara ship.

The proposed panel would include at least one American jurist who would serve as an observer. One high priority issue the panel would study is the legality of the Israeli partial blockade on Gaza, as stipulated in the Oslo Accords.

The proposed panel of jurists would not have the power to investigate IDF officers or the commandoes who carried out the operation on the flotilla.   .