Israel Agrees to UN Flotilla Inquiry of IDF
Israel for the first time has agreed to allow the United Nations to have access to a probe of the IDF, which will come under international scrutiny for its part in the May 31 flotilla clash with terrorist activists from Turkey, which also will be investigated.
The Inner Cabinet of seven ministers voted "to allow the panel access to material gathered" by two Israeli committees, one which has completed a report on the IDF and the other being the Turkel committee, which is examining the incident from different perspectives, both military and political.
Prime Minister Netanyahu explained that Israel now has agreed to participate in the inquiry because "Israel has nothing to hide. The opposite is true. It is in the national interest of the State of Israel to ensure that the factual truth of the overall flotilla events comes to light throughout the world and this is exactly the principle that we are advancing."
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced the Israeli agreement Monday, several weeks after he proposed that former New Zealand Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer head the investigating committee. It will include representatives from Israel, Turkey and the United States.
The flotilla clash involved one of six ships that were on the way to Gaza to challenge Israel’s sovereignty over the coastal waters off the Hamas-controlled area. The ships supposedly were carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza, but it was later discovered that many of the medicines aboard were out of date or otherwise not usable.
Israeli officials also discovered that the Mavi Marmara ship, which was involved in the violent clash with Navy commandos, was not carrying any aid at all. Nine Turkish activists from the IHH charity organization, which has been determined by Germany and others to be a front for a terrorist group, attacked the commandos, who finally overpowered the attackers and killed nine of them.
Israel originally rejected an inquiry by the United Nations, fearing a repeat of the Goldstone Committee, which investigated the Operation Cast Lead counterterrorist campaign against the Hamas terrorist infrastructure early last year. The panel accused Israel of war crimes while barely mentioning thousands of mortar and rocket attacks on Israeli civilians.
The United Nations initially castigated Israel for its part in the clash before any initial investigation. Subsequent video evidence has shown that the Turkish terror activists planned and instigated the attack on the Navy commandos, who reached the ship’s deck virtually unarmed and via ropes from a hovering helicopter.