Israel announces Gaza aid flotilla inquiry, Turkey not satisfied
Israel opened a limited investigation into the legality of its raid on the Gaza aid flotilla. Irish and Canadian observers will participate. Israel and the US hope the move will reduce the country's international isolation, but critics say plan doesn't go far enough.
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The Israeli move was announced after days negotiations with the US over including international observers for the first time in an investigation of potential misconduct by Israeli soldiers. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said in a statement the decision to set up the committee was ``important'' and expressed confidence it will be impartial and credible, but added that the US would await its findings before passing final judgment.Skip to next paragraph
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Mr. Trimble is an Ulster Unionist who shared the 1988 peace laureate for his role in negotiating peace in Northern Ireland, and is now a Conservative member of Britain's House of Lords. In May, he was a founding member of the "Friends of Israel," a group formed in response to an "unprecedented delegitimization campaign against Israel, driven by the enemies of the Jewish state and perversely assumed by numerous international authorities," according to a press release.
Ken Watkin is the other observer. Mr. Watkin is a former Judge Advocate General for the Canadian military.
"It's important for us to show that, in contrast to the impression around the world that what happened was an act of piracy, (it) was in fact a legitimate action,'' said Cabinet Minister Dan Meridor in an interview with Israel Radio. "Israel is in a difficult situation since the flotilla incident.''
The fact that the commission will focus on broad questions of international law rather than investigate fully the events that led to the shootings of the nine Turks has been criticized. Domestic critics of the government complain that the inquiry won't look at allegedly faulty decision making procedures of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government.
"It's jurisdiction [is] very weak,'' writes Aeyal Gross, a Tel Aviv University Law Professor in an e-mailed response to questions. "It has some very credible members but had the government wanted to give the committee full jurisdiction and independence it would have acted otherwise.''
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