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1st Meeting

Judge Turkel. To head committee Photo: Haim Zach
Judge Turkel. To head committee Photo: Haim Zach
 
 

Turkel committee may meet Wednesday

Panel appointed to probe IDF flotilla raid likely to convene for first time, discuss budget and procedure

Roni Sofer
Published: 06.15.10, 23:07 / Israel News

The Turkel committee, appointed to probe the IDF raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, will likely meet Wednesday for the first time.

 

The exact time or location of the meeting was not specified.The committee's chairman, retired Supreme Court Justice Jacob Turkel, is said to be currently working on preliminary rules of conduct which he will present to other members.

 

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During its first meeting, the committee will be tasked with deciding where it will base its work – most probably in Jerusalem – as well as a working budget, time schedule, and list of witnesses from whom it will hear testimonies.

 

Committee members will also have to decide on guidelines for cooperation with the two foreign observers elected to the committee – whether they will reside in Israel or not, and how testimonies are to be translated for their benefit.

 

As part of the preparations for the Turkel committee's work, planners sought the assistance of a senior public relations tycoon. The man, whose name currently remains under wraps, has a history in Israeli media and works in the fields of finance and security. He is expected to respond to the proposal he received on Wednesday

 

The Turkel committee 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.

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the establishment of the committee at a Cabinet meeting Monday. "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.

 

"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."

 

On Tuesday afternoon State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss announced he has decided to look into the government's decision-making process in terms of intelligence and PR in the Gaza flotilla affair.

 

The comptroller clarified, however, that he would not deal with "the military activity of the fighting forces which are being investigated by the IDF, and legal matters which are being handled by the government-appointed committee."

 

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