Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Defiant Israel will hold inquiry into flotilla deaths and blockade legality.

Having rejected a multinational inquiry into the killings on board the Mavi Marmara, Israel has announced that she will be conducting the investigation herself.

Israel announced that it would conduct an internal investigation into last week's assault on a convoy of aid ships headed to Gaza, after defying pressure for a thorough international inquiry.

Defence minister Ehud Barak told parliament that the inquiry would be in addition to a separate military investigation, and would seek to establish whether Israel's blockade of Gaza and its raid "met with the standards of international law".

"We will draw lessons at the political level, [and] in the security establishment," said Barak, who stressed that the Israeli soldiers involved would not be investigated; they would be questioned "neither in Hebrew nor in English".

So, the people who were on board the ship, and the people who actually fired the bullets which resulted in the deaths, will not be questioned at all.

Quite how that kind of investigation into what happened works, I simply cannot imagine. Surely one would want to know the circumstances in which the live rounds were fired, the state of mind of the soldiers when the killings took place?

But no, we are told that they will be questioned "neither in Hebrew nor in English". If that is the case it's hardly going to be a very thorough investigation.

It's being reported in Israel that this panel will only be established if the Obama administration gives it the green light.

The panel would also examine whether the navy used proportionate or disproportionate force during its takeover of the ship. Israel says the deaths occurred after the naval commandos were viciously attacked by the passengers and were forced to open fire in self-defense.

However, the forum of seven ministers decided, the panel will not be allowed to interrogate soldiers or officers who took part in the commando raid.

How do you look into an incident, whilst simultaneously promising not to question the people who took part in that incident? How can one decide whether the force used was proportionate or disproportionate without hearing from the soldiers involved regarding the circumstances in which they decided to fire?

As I have said before, if Israel is on such strong ground in this matter, and the fault for this entire debacle lies at the feet of "Turkish terrorists", then why is she being so reticent about having a proper international inquiry into this?

This looks like a whitewash before it's even begun.

Click here for full article.

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