Israeli decision to participated in UN Panel on Freedom Flotilla: "UNprecedented"

Given Israel’s new-found appreciation of international law, it should not be too surprising: “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today (Monday), 2.8.10, informed UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon that Israel would participate in the panel that he is establishing in the wake of the 31.5.10 events regarding the flotilla”, the Israeli Prime Minister’s office has announced.

According to the statement, Netanyahu said that “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.”

The Prime Minister consulted his “Security Cabinet” — a “seven-member ministerial forum” — before the decision was announced,  and, the statement said, “diplomatic contacts … have been held in recent weeks in order to ensure that this was indeed a panel with a balanced and fair written mandate”.

Haaretz’s Barak Raviv wrote that This is the first time Israel has ever agreed to participate in a UN probe regarding the Israel Defense Forces … UN Secretary General Ban officially announced Israel’s participation in the international inquiry, calling it an ‘unprecedented development’ … Ban also announced those who are planned to head the UN inquiry, saying the ‘panel will be led by eminent personalities: former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Mr. Geoffrey Palmer as Chair and the outgoing President of Colombia, Mr. Alvaro Uribe as Vice-Chair. The Panel will have two additional members, one each from Israel and Turkey. It will begin its work on 10 August and submit the first progress report by mid September’.”

Ban reportedly added that he hoped “the Panel will fulfill its mandate based on the Presidential Statement of the Security Council and with the fullest cooperation of the relevant national authorities of the two countries … It will also give me recommendations for the prevention of similar incidents in the future”… This is reported in Haaretz here.

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