Friday, 20 October 2017

Israel names committee to probe aid flotilla seizure

Israel is to set up an independent commission to investigate the seizure of six ships carrying aid and pro-Palestinian activists to the Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office announced.

Jerusalem, June 14 (DPA) Israel is to set up an independent commission to investigate the seizure of six ships carrying aid and pro-Palestinian activists to the Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office announced.

In a meeting Sunday with his Likud Party in Jerusalem, Netanyahu appointed retired Supreme Court judge Yakov Tirkel, 75, to head the commission, which includes two other Israelis and two international observers -- Irish Nobel Peace Prize winner William David Trimble and Canadian lawyer Ken Watkin.

 

The foreign observers will take part in the hearings and deliberations of the commission but will not have the right to vote on the proceedings and conclusions.

 

The committee could deny the observers access to certain information if it were deemed to cause harm to Israeli national security or its foreign relations.

 

The team proposed has to pass government approval Monday. Netanyahu's office said the details of the commission have been coordinated with the US.

 

In Washington, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said: 'We expect Israel's commission and military investigation will be carried out promptly.

 

'We also expect that, upon completion, its findings will be presented publicly and will be presented to the international community.'

 

The raid resulted in fierce international criticism of Israel and calls for an international commission of inquiry.

 

Israeli naval commandos seized the six-ship flotilla May 31. While five boats were seized without incident, on the sixth, Israeli forces battled knife- and club-wielding activists on board the Turkish Marvi Marama.

 

Nine activists, eight Turkish and one US citizen of Turkish descent, were shot dead by Israeli forces.

 

The seizure placed Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip, first imposed when militants from the salient snatched an Israeli soldier during a cross-border raid in June 2006, firmly in the spotlight, and increased calls for it to be lifted or sufficiently modified.