Turkel Commission to Hear from Flotilla Passengers
Two Arab citizens of Israel who attempted to break through to Gaza along with an international flotilla have been summoned to testify before the Turkel Commission. The commission plans to hear from pro-Gaza humanitarian groups as well.
Israeli citizens Mohammed Zidan of Kfar Manda and Hamad Abu-Daabus of Rahat were asked to testify in an open-door hearing to be held on October 13.
The commission has already heard testimony from Khalid Tarzi, the captain of the ship Mavi Marmara, which was part of the flotilla. The Marmara was the boat on which IDF captains were attacked by an angry mob wielding crowbars and knives, leading them to open fire in response, killing nine.
The Turkel commission has been tasked with determining whether Israel's response to the flotilla was correct.
Three weeks ago, the commission turned to several humanitarian organizations known to be harshly critical of Israel, in order to hear about the humanitarian situation in Gaza. Activists in the Gaza-bound flotilla claimed they were justified in attempting to break Israel's naval blockade on Hamas due to a humanitarian crisis in Gaza; Israel has argued that Gaza's import needs are met by the many truckloads of goods that enter the region every day through land crossings in the Negev.
Among the organizations that have been asked to present a brief summary are B'Tselem, Doctors for Human Rights, and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights. Commission members plan to review the summaries in order to determine which organizations, if any, will be summoned to testify.
The Turkel Commission is expected to complete its work in the near future. When commission member Shabtai Rosen passed away in late September, Judge Turkel rejected a call from feminist groups to replace him with a woman, explaining that the committee's work was mostly done and therefore Rosen would not be replaced.