Netanyahu: Convincing response
Photo: Reuters
Turkel. To head committee
Photo: Haim Zach
PM: Turkel probe will prove Israel acted lawfully
Netanyahu calls cabinet meeting on committee elected to investigate Navy's raid on Gaza-bound flotilla, says he is 'convinced exposing facts will prove to world Israel's aim was to conduct defense operation according to highest standards'

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opened a cabinet meeting Monday called in order to approve the committee elected to investigate the IDF raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla. All ministers voted in favor of the committee.


"I am convinced that exposing the facts will prove that our aim was to conduct a defense operation according to the highest standards," Netanyahu said.


He also told the ministers present at the meeting that he had called several European leaders and briefed them on the decision to establish the Turkel committee, in order to clarify that the international community supports Israel's decision.


The leaders included German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and Quartet envoy Tony Blair.


The Turkel committee, headed by retired Supreme Court Justice Jacob Turkel, includes two Israeli members aside from the former judge: Amos Horev, who served as president of the Technion, and Shabtai Rosen, a professor of international law.


In addition, two international observers have been elected to the committee: William David Trimble, the first minister of Northern Ireland, and Ken Watkin, former judge advocate general of the Canadian military.


"Two principles guided us: First, maintaining the freedom of IDF soldiers to act and the credibility of the IDF investigation, and second, giving a credible and convincing response the responsible states in the international community," Netanyahu said.


He added that the probe would prove Israel acted "lawfully, responsibly, and with total transparency".


A number of ministers discussed the committee before the meeting was convened. Minister Yossi Peled of the Likud said there was much to investigate and that the committee would provide an adequate answer to this need.


Minister Daniel Hershkowitz of Habayit Hayehudi said the Turkel committee had been given the power to provide the international community with a response to its claims, but "that which interests us needs to
be investigated only in internal forums".


Minister Moshe Kahlon said that Israel's allies, the US and Canada, supported the move. "The decision will create a balance between the international demand for a committee and the Israeli government's obligation to protect the IDF," he said.


First published: 14.06.10, 10:35
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