Netanyahu: Others oppose Gaza port
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Turkel. To head commission
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Netanyahu: Former justice to head flotilla probe

Prime minister says he expects US agreement on inquiry committee's composition, rights shortly

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed Sunday at a Likud ministers meeting that the Israeli investigation on the IDF flotilla raid will be headed by retired Supreme Court Justice Jacob Turkel.


Netanyahu added that negotiations with the US over the establishment of an investigation committee, its composition, and the rights afforded it were held until late Saturday night, and that he expects an agreement on the matter shortly.


Regarding the blockade on the Gaza Strip Netanyahu said, "There are others in the region concerned over this matter aside from Israel. There is real concern in the Islamic Republic, if indeed Iran can be called a 'republic'. There are also those in Europe and the Middle East who oppose a naval port in Gaza."


Netanyahu also spoke of the Gaza blockade at his opening speech in the weekly Cabinet meeting. "Even before the flotilla we held discussions in different forums on the continuation of our policy in Gaza," he said.


"The debates continued last week. Our policy is clear: We must prevent weapons and combat support equipment from entering the Strip while allowing civilian humanitarian aid to enter. These discussions will continue."


Government ministers justified the delay in announcing the establishment of the inquiry committee. Minister Isaac Herzog, of the Labor Party, rejected speculations that Israel had postponed the announcement until the World Cup began in order to soften international pressure.


"It's a nice illusion," he said. "We need to cooperate with our allies in the international arena and shake off the image of the siege from Israel. This issue will actually come up during a meeting of the foreign ministers of the European Union."


On Friday the White House denied a Weekly Standard report that the US administration intends to support the appointment of a UN commission to investigate the flotilla raid.


White House Spokesman Tommy Vietor said the United States continues to back the swift, credible, independent and transparent probe that Israel plans to launch.


Earlier Friday, Washington sources told Ynet that the US administration was disappointed with Israel's proposed solution for an investigation into the flotilla raid.


According to the sources, time is working against Israel, and the delays are only pushing the US into a corner and decreasing the chances it may promote a solution that is favorable for Israel.


פרסום ראשון: 06.13.10, 11:21
 new comment
This will delete your current comment