Israel announces several panels to investigate Flotilla tragedy

According to the news announced Monday night:

(1) Major-General [res.] Giora Eiland (an analyst at the Institute for National Security Studies, or INSS, in Tel Aviv) has been appointed by IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi to head an investigative team to “conduct an internal military investigation into the Israel Navy’s deadly raid of a humanitarian aid convoy bound for the Gaza Strip”, as Haaretz reported.  “The team has been charged with studying the failures and lessons of the commando raid on a Turkish-flagged ship last week that left nine activists dead and several people wounded … Eiland and his team will consider internal navy testimonies already gathered in the week since the raid and will open a series of fresh investigations as well”.

(2) Haaretz added that “Hours before the IDF’s announcement, Haaretz learned that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had decided to appoint a state panel of inquiry to investigate the Israel Navy raid.  A senior source in Jerusalem said the panel would comprise top justices experienced in matters of international and marine law. Two international justices – at least one of them American – would be invited to participate as observers, said the source. In addition to investigating the circumstances surrounding the Israel Navy’s seizure of the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara, the committee will also be charged with looking into the legality of Israel’s closure of the Gaza Strip and its naval blockade

[UPDATE: On Wednesday, Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu noted that Israel was still in consultations with the U.S, over the form of the inquiry, but said that “I, the minister of defense, other cabinet ministers and the chief of staff will all testify and supply all the facts. But I have insisted that the only body that will continue to oversee questioning of the commandos will be the IDF. This is how the armies of all our global allies operate”… According to a report in Haaretz, Netanyahu said that the activists on board the Freedom Flotilla should be investigated as well: “We have to establish who stood behind this extremist group, who financed its members, and how knives, axes and other weapons were brought aboard … We also need to ask what large sums of money found aboard the boats were doing there, and for whom they were intended”. This is reported here.

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