August 2, 2010
At last!! The Israeli government has seen sense and decided to show that it has nothing to fear from a UN enquiry which appears to be unbiased – for a change.
Israel Prime Minister, Benyamin Netanyahu, released the following today:
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 announcement to the UN Secy.-Gen. was delivered following consultations with the seven-member ministerial forum earlier this morning and in the wake of diplomatic contacts that have been held in recent weeks in order to ensure that this was indeed a panel with a balanced and fair written mandate.
The panel will receive reports on the Israeli investigation by the Independent Public Commission to Examine the Maritime Incident of 31.5.10 chaired by retired Supreme Court Justice Jacob Turkel.
Prime Minister Netanyahu said today, after speaking with the UN Secy.-Gen., 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.”
Having initially refused to co-operate, Israel set up its own internal enquiry which concentrated on exposing a group of Turkish activists with links to the IHH who led a flotilla intent on breaking the Israeli maritime blockade of Gaza.
This ‘humanitarian’ organisation has been shown to have links with terrorist groups, even Al Qaeda. 8 of 9 activists killed had links with dubious IHH activities and most had left evidence that they were determined to reach Gaza or become martyrs. Such an attitude itself reveals a hatred for Israel that is so great that they were prepared to die, and kill, for it.
Despite much documentary evidence taken by the Israelis and by many people on board the Mavi Marmara, the lead ship of the flotilla, there has not yet been a clear and detailed account of how and under what circumstances the 9 men were killed. All we know from the Israeli account and video evidence is that the commandos who landed on the Mavi Marmara were met with lethal force and a mob of about 50 men attacked a much smaller number of commandos whose main ‘weapon’ was a paint gun.
The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs has a web page dedicated to the events of 21 May 2010 here.
The terms of the Israeli commission are detailed here.
The main objectives were as follows:
1) Consideration of the security circumstances for imposing a naval blockade on the Gaza Strip and the conformity of the naval blockade with the rules of international law;
2) Conformity of the actions taken by Israel to enforce the naval blockade on 31 May 2010 to the principles of international law;
3) Consideration of the actions taken by those who organized – and participated in – the flotilla, and their identities.
The Commission will also consider the question of whether the inquiry and investigation mechanisms vis-à-vis complaints and claims regarding violations of the laws of armed conflict, as followed by Israel in general and as implemented with regard to the event in question, conform with the State of Israel’s obligations under the rules of international law.
Following the international outcry against Israel and its virtual pariah status, it’s about time Israel engaged at an international level to show that, indeed, it has nothing to hide.
Whether the UN panel will give Israel its first fair hearing at the UN for some considerable time remains to be seen.
Perhaps the UN might also want to consider Turkey’s role in aiding and abetting an organisation, the IHH, which may well be proscribed in the United States and which members of the Italian parliament are seeking to have proscribed in Europe.
Yes, it’s about time that Israel fought more pugnaciously to restore its reputation in the UN and find a platform to expose the hypocrisy of its enemies and critics.
Israel has already admitted operational errors. That doesn’t excuse those who would commit murder because they oppose an ideology. The would-be murderers were those killed who were intent on killing Jews/Zionists/Israelis – it was all the same to them.
Let’s see what the UN comes up with this time.