Daily Israel Report

Netanyahu to Testify in Flotilla Clash Probe

Netanyahu will testify August 9 before the Turkel Committee investigating the flotilla clash with Turkish-based IHH terror activists.

By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 7/14/2010, 1:05 PM / Last Update: 7/14/2010, 12:55 PM

Israel news photos of Reuters and Hurriyet edited snapshots

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will testify August 9 in a public hearing before the Turkel Commission investigating the flotilla clash with Turkish-based IHH terror activists. Defense Minister Ehud Barak and IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi will be called to testify the following two days.

"The commission is currently receiving and studying the necessary documents as part of its preparations to hear the aforesaid testimony," according to a government statement.

The investigating panel is named after former High Court Justice Yaakov Turkel, whose committee includes two other retired judges, two experts and two foreign observers.

They are asking questions surrounding the deadly clash in which nine IHH members were killed after they assaulted Navy commandos who stopped that ship and five others in the flotilla from reaching Hamas terrorist-controlled Gaza.

While the Turkel panel involves all aspects of the clash, including government policies, the IDF has compiled its own report, submitted by senior reserve officer Giora Eiland earlier this week. His committee concluded that the Navy was thoroughly justified in using fire as a matter of self-defense after IHH passengers on the Mavi Marmara ship stabbed and beat commandos with metal clubs and then took three of them hostage.

Eiland also said that mistakes had been made in the areas of intelligence and other preparations for challenge of dealing with the flotilla.