Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has instructed Cabinet Secretary Zvi Hauser to bring a proposal for government approval on Monday, for appointing an independent public committee to investigate the IDF raid on the Gaza flotilla.
The announcement from the Prime Minister's Office noted that the committee would be headed by former Supreme Court Justice Jacob Turkel. The committee will be comprised of professor of international law and Israel Prize laureate Shabtai Rosen, and Brigadier General (res.) Amos Horev, former president of Haifa's Technion.
Two foreign observers will also be appointed: Lord William David Trimble, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and Ken Watkin, international lawyer and former judge advocate general for Canada. The observers will also take part in discussions and consultations.
According to the Prime Minister's Office, the committee will:
- Examine the security aspects of the naval blockade on Gaza and adjusting it in accordance with international law.
- Examine Israel's actions to enforce the naval blockade and prevent the international flotilla from reaching Gaza on May 31, 2010 with respect to international law.
- Examine the actions of the organizers of the (Gaza) flotilla and identifying its participants.
- Examine whether Israel's process of looking into complaints of Israeli violations of the Laws of War - as was implemented during the said incident - corresponds with the country's obligations vis-à-vis international law.
The PM said he was guided by two main principles in deciding on a public commission of inquiry into the Gaza sail events: "First of all, to maintain IDF soldiers' free hand and protect the independence and credibility of the army's operational probing body.
"Secondly, to provide a credible and independent response for questions raised by countries in the international community regarding the naval event and its compliance with international law norms," he said.
Netanyahu updated Likud ministers Sunday morning regarding his intention to appoint Turkel. The 75-year-old judge began his career in the Beersheba Magistrates Court and retired from the Supreme Court benches about five years ago. He also served as a judge in the military appeals court, holding the rank of colonel.
Turkel was recently interviewed by Army Radio about the flotilla raid, and said, "There is no way to avoid forming a national investigation committee."
He added, "I don't like personal recommendations. The main thing is what stands before me. I don't want any more failures, and whether a certain person is dismissed or not, or whether his role is frozen or not is of secondary importance."