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Friday June 11, 2010 12:54 PM (EST+7)
Israel finalizes arrangements for Gaza flotilla probe

Read more: Mavi Marmara, Turkey, US Foreign policy, international probe, Yaakov Tirkel

RAMALLAH, June 11 (JMCC) - Israel is expected on Friday or Saturday to announce the final committee to head an investigation into the nine deaths on the Mavi Marmara, the Turkish aid flotilla sailed towards the Gaza blockade nearly two weeks ago. The announcement is expected to reveal both the names on the committee and its powers.

Channel 2 reported last night that the committee will be headed by a retired Supreme Court justice. It appears that the Prime Minister's Office has approached former Justice Yaakov Tirkel to fill the position.

The committee will have a mandate to examine whether the blockade of the Gaza Strip is in accordance with international law, whether the Israel Navy's takeover of the aid flotilla in international waters was legal and whether the use of force by Israeli troops and other aspects of the operation were legal. Netanyahu, Barak and Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi are all expected to testify before the committee.

America has played a crucial role in the committee’s creation. In its negotiations with Israel it backed calls for an international participation into the probe, deeming this an essential manoeuvre in securing the committee’s credibility.

The forum of seven senior ministers has met to discuss the matter, but the final decision was held up until a formula was reached that was acceptable to the Americans. There have been four days of discussions with the Americans on the subject following their dissatisfaction over the nature of the committee as initially proposed and its composition.

Read more at Haaretz







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