Israel to set up inquiry on 'Freedom Flotilla' raid
Israel is expected on Friday or Saturday to appoint a former Supreme Court judge and foreign observers to an inquiry panel that will investigate the fatal Israeli raid of the 'Freedom Flotilla.'
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There is relatively less clamor in Israel for such a panel, though many have demanded explanations about the apparent poor planning of the operation and lack of coordination between various branches of the Israeli government. A Haaretz newspaper poll suggested that Israelis are nearly evenly split on the need for an investigation. Of those who support a probe, 60 percent support having foreign observers participate.Skip to next paragraph
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"In this case [the panel] is not even something for the Israeli public, it's for the media," says Ben Dror Yemini, the opinion page editor of the daily Maariv newspaper, adding that few recommendations of previous committees were implemented. "It's because of public opinion, to make nice with the international community, and to make up with the Turks.''
Israeli officials look to S. Korea's example
The political goal of the panel is to tamp down anger in Turkey and Europe over the deaths of nine Turkish citizens, one of whom was a dual US citizen, in international waters. On the other hand, the US and Israel want to head off attempts at an international investigation with which Israel is unlikely to cooperate.
The probable collaboration of an Israeli panel with US and European observers would set a new precedent in Israel, though few are sure what the role of the foreign observers would be.
"What does it mean to have an observer? It's not very clear,'' says one Israeli official. "What will be the legal authority?''
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