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Retired Judge Jacob Turkel
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Judge Jacob Turkel to probe flotilla raid?
Following international pressure to launch investigation into deadly Navy takeover of Turkish Gaza-bound ship, retired Supreme Court judge asked to head commission of inquiry into incident
The world is pressuring Israel to agree to an international investigation into the deadly Navy raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla, and the government in Jerusalem is looking for a solution.

 

One of the possibilities raised in Israel's discussions with the United States was that such a commission of inquiry would be headed by a retired Supreme Court judge. Former Supreme Court Justice Jacob Turkel has been contacted recently and asked to head the committee.

 

Jerusalem officials have been working on the mandate for the investigation procedure over the past few days, and it has already been approved in principle and nearly completed during Monday's seven-minister forum.

 

Turkel refused to address the matter. When asked by Ynet whether he had accepted the appointment, he said he would only respond at a later date.

 

Turkel told Army Radio recently that "there is no other way but to appoint a state commission of inquiry." He added, "I am not a supporter of personal recommendations. What I see before my eyes is the matter discussed. I want failures not to happen anymore, and whether someone is dismissed or not dismissed or whether his position will be frozen or not is a marginal issue as far as I'm concerned."

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been insisting that the Israel Defense Forces' soldiers would not be questioned, meaning that the investigation procedure will use military debriefings and the findings of the committee appointed by IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi. The committee will hear testimonies from the prime minister, defense minister, other senior ministers and the chief of staff.

 

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the German and Italian government have called for an international investigation into Israel's deadly raid, which left nine pro-Palestinian activists dead.

 

The US has also backed calls for an international participation in Israel's probe, saying it was "essential" to ensure credibility.

 

"We understand that the international participation in investigating these matters will be important to the credibility everybody wants to see," State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said Tuesday.

 

"We recognize that international participation... would be an essential element to putting this tragedy behind us and then hopefully creating some additional trust."

 

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