Turkel Commission's first hearing last week
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Cabinet okays extended jurisdiction for Turkel committee

Commission investigating Gaza flotilla raid now authorized to summon witnesses. Retired Judge Turkel's request to add members to commission not addressed

The cabinet unanimously approved on Sunday the extended jurisdiction of the Turkel Commission, which has been charged with investigating the Israel Navy raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla.


By request of retired Judge Jacob Turkel, the commission's authority was expanded to be similar to that of a governmental commission of inquiry, such as the Winograd Commission established following the Second Lebanon War. The cabinet did not address Turkel's other request to increase the number of members sitting on the committee from three to five.


"The cabinet authorized this morning the extension of authorities for the public commission of inquiry into the flotilla affair," the Prime Minister's Office reported. "The recommendation was approved without opposition. The said authorities relate to summoning witnesses and swearing them in for testimony. The decision does not apply to IDF soldiers and maintains the independence of the institution of military investigations."


In the government's decision, it is written, "Even though in the cabinet's opinion the authorities and directives established by the cabinet decision on June 14 are sufficient, taking into consideration the commission chairman's request, it was suggested to authorize the justice minister to grant the commission the request authorities."


The decision entirely blocks the investigation of military officials, except the chief of staff.


However, the commission will receive the documents necessary for its investigation and may ask ahead of time that an expert investigation team authorized by the chief of staff review the operational debriefings that took place after the event.


Sitting on the public commission of inquiry are profession of international law awarded the Israel Prize for Jurisprudence and the Hague Prize for International Law, Prof. Shabtai Rosenne (93), and Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos Horev (88), former president of the Technion. Estimates are that Turkel, himself felt compelled to ask for additional commission members out of a concern that the commission will come across as absurd under its current composition of elderly members.


פרסום ראשון: 07.04.10, 13:17
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