First Flotilla Probe Completed, Handed to Barak
The IDF probe of the bloody clash aboard the Gaza-bound ship Marmara has been completed. Investigative committee head Major-General (res.) Giora Eiland has submitted his findings to Defense Minister Ehud Barak and IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi.
Results of the probe will be released to the public in a press conference this afternoon.
A second national probe, the Turkel commission, is ongoing. In addition, the United Nations Human Rights Council recently announced plans to establish its own probe, and the UN may create a probe as well.
The Eiland commission's findings are expected to include criticism of the way in which the IDF gathered information on the approaching ships and on their passengers' intentions. Eiland is also expected to point out flaws in the decision-making process prior to soldiers' descent onto the ships.
The military apparently expected passengers aboard the Marmara, self-defined human rights activists, to submit peacefully when soldiers boarded the ships in order to reroute them to Ashdod. Instead, passengers attacked the soldiers with clubs and knives, wounding several, and dragged three soldiers below deck, prompting fears of a kidnapping. Soldiers responded with live fire, killing nine Turkish citizens.
The 150-page Eiland report is not expected to assign personal responsibility for the incident to senior IDF officers, due to the limited mandate given the investigative committee. The government-appointed Turkel commission, however, is authorized to reach conclusions regarding individual officers' behavior - though it, too, is not expected to do so.
Eiland, a former head of the National Security Council, also headed a probe into the kidnapping of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.