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'Nothing to hide.' Barak Photo: Arik Simchoni, Defense Ministry
'Nothing to hide.' Barak Photo: Arik Simchoni, Defense Ministry
 
 

Barak aide: Israel can't avoid Gaza flotilla probe

Foreign Ministry says UN decision to launch independent investigation in commando raid is political. 'Criticizing Israel for safeguarding its security interests is hypocritical,' source close to defense minister says

Roni Sofer
Published: 06.03.10, 10:44 / Israel News

Israel will have to cooperate with any UN investigation into the IDF raid on Gaza-bound ships, officials said Thursday.

 

Meanwhile, Israel has not ruled out the possibility of conducting its own investigation into the raid, which left nine pro-Palestinian activists dead. Sources said a senior American jurist may serve as an observer in Israel's probe of Monday's raid.

 

"Israel regrets the UN Human Rights Council's decision to launch an independent investigation into the raid before the incident ended. Such a decision indicates politicization, not genuine concern for human rights," Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said Thursday.

 

"Since its inception in 2006, the Council has obsessively and disproportionately focused on Israel," he added.

 

A source close to Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Israel has "nothing to hide, but there is no way of stopping the UN decision to set up an inquiry commission, or of facing a similar US demand.

 

"We operated on the international level to stop the (Gaza) sail, which threatened Israel's security interests. We warned the (flotilla's) organizers and gave them every opportunity; eventually we acted with a lot of restraint in the face of the (activists') violence," he said.

 

"Criticizing Israel for safeguarding its security interests is hypocritical. No country would ever allow such a flotilla to pass through its territory. The prime minister made this clear in his comments yesterday," the source added.

 

Members of the so-called forum of seven ministers, including Eli Yishai and Benny Begin, are opposed to the establishment of an international commission of inquiry and have called to wait for the IDF to publish its own findings.

 

"We'll know how to investigate the raid from every angle and draw the necessary conclusions. This process cannot become a festival of self-accusation," Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon said, "And we must make it clear to those on the outside who are calling for an international commission of inquiry that Israel is an independent, democratic country – not a banana republic." 

 

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