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Monday June 14, 2010 9:02 AM (EST+7)
Israel set to approve flotilla panel with international observers

Read more: foreign aid, Freedom Flotilla, Gaza convoy, closure, blockade, aid convoy, Gaza convoy, investigation, inquiry, US policy, US foreign policy

RMALLAH, June 14 (JMCC) - The Israeli cabinet was set Monday to approve a panel of inquiry into Israel's interception of a fleet of ships headed for blockaded Gaza. The investigative committee will also explore the legality of Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip. Two international observers, one from Canada and one from Ireland, will oversee the committee's work.

A retired Supreme Court justice, Jacob Turkel, will head the committee, whose members will included Shabtai Rosen, 93,  a professor of international law who is an Israel Prize laureate in legal sciences and a Hague Prize laureate in international law. Also on the panel will be Maj. Gen. (res. ) Amos Horev, former president of the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology.

The United States hailed the decision to investigate the May 31 raid, in which navy commandos opened fire on pro-Palestinian commandos after encountering unexpectedly violent resistance when storming the 'Mavi Marmara, the lead boat in the flotilla.

Israel has a military justice system that meets international standards and is capable of conducting a serious and credible investigation, the White House said in a statement...

Two foreign observers will take part in the committee's deliberations. The statement released by the Prime Minister's Bureau did not say what their powers would be. The first observer will be William David Trimble, a Northern Irish Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

Trimble joined the Friends of Israel initiative launched in Paris some two weeks ago, in which Israel's former ambassador to the United Nations, Dore Gold, was also involved. Gold is considered a close associate of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The second international observer will be Ken Watkin, former military judge advocate general from Canada.

Read the story at Haaretz...







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