By Ted Belman
When the news that Israel had agreed to the UN inquiry came out, I wrote Flotilla enquiry is not a serious one.
- “Source says Israel had no choice but to cooperate with UN flotilla probe, but will set strict guidelines”.”no choice”, why so? What kind of enquiry is it if the guidelines or mandate have not been agreed upon? The arguments put forward in support of this move are far from convincing. Nobody is quoted. Also “the government would not allow the committee to interrogate Israeli officers, civilians, or soldiers”. This suggests to me that the enquiry is politically motivated by all to remove the matter from public discourse. It is not a serious enquiry.
Shortly thereafter Anne Bayefsky wrote President Obama Blackmails Israel at the UN and suggested that it was a serious one.
Now that the terms of the Mandate have been made public, I am proven right.
Posted by Ali Yenidunya
This is the first time Israel is cooperating with a UN investigation of the actions of Israel Defense Forces. Haaretz reports the mandate of the panel:
The panel’s mandate is to examine the investigations that Israel and Turkey are carrying out regarding the incident of the Gaza-bound flotilla on May 31. In addition, the panel will seek to examine the facts surrounding the flotilla and recommend ways to avoid such incidents in the future.
The panel will not be authorized to call witnesses — especially no Israeli soldiers or officers.
So it will be a very limited investigation; the US Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, said the nternational panel will be “complementary” to national enquiries. Rice added that the US expected “that the Panel will operate in a transparent and credible manner and that its work will be the primary method for the international community to review the incident, obviating the need for any overlapping international inquiries“.
So why did Israel, contrary to initial expectations, accept a UN panel? Because, at the end of the day, it is an investigation doing no more than looking at national (i.e., Israeli) investigations which have already tried to define the findings, findings which have already tried to contain the fact that nine activists died on board the Flotilla.