Ban Ki-Moon's flotilla probe begins
LAST UPDATED: 08/12/2010 21:34
First-time UN panel meeting jostles with competing inquiries.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Photo: AP
The UN panel appointed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to probe the May
31 Gaza-bound flotilla met for the first time Tuesday, discussing
the incident "with good cooperation and in a positive atmosphere," according to a UN statement
The panel began its investigation amid a slew of
inquiries and would-be probes into the flotilla incident, including the
ongoing Turkel Committee in Israel, a competing UN investigation from
the Human Rights Council, and an independent inquiry from a dissatisfied
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the initial, internal IDF investigation into the matter, there have
been at least five formal investigations announced into the flotilla
raid, which resulted in the deaths of nine Turkish citizens aboard the
flagship Mavi Marmara.
The UN panel met for two full days on the 10 and the 11 of August. It
plans to meet again in early September. Ban Ki-moon, who appointed the
inquiry, has asked for an interim report on Sept. 15, which the panel
will "strive to produce."
The four-member panel is chaired by
former New Zealand prime minister Geoffrey Palmer, and co-chaired by
former Columbian President Alvaro Uribe. Businessman Joseph
Ciechanover represents Israel, and Özdem Sanberk Turkey.
A number of organizations are jostling to establish probes into the flotilla incident.
The initial investigation by the IDF, headed by Maj.-Gen. (res.) Giora Eiland, concluded in a 100-page report that a series of operational and intelligence mistakes had led to the botched raid against the Mavi Marmara, but found no "failures" on the IDF's part.
pressure on Israel did not relent after the military's probe, and a
second Israeli inquiry was established, headed by retired Supreme Court
justice Jacob Turkel. The panel's ongoing investigation has called
leading Israeli politicians to testify, including Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and IDF Chief of Staff
dissatisfied with the investigations established by Israel and the
international community, has set up its own panel to investigate the
flotilla, which will
"investigate the attack and the treatment the activists faced."
Meanwhile, the UN Human Rights Council is conducting its own
investigation, not heeding calls to stand down for Ban-Ki Moon's 4-man
The International Federation for Human Rights slammed Ban's inquiry, saying that “In failing to meet the standards of
an effective investigation, this probe risks contributing to a culture of
Israel has refused to cooperate with the Human Rights Council probe.
Ban Ki-Moon's panel sparked controversy when Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu threatened to pull out
after the Secretary General said the probe might investigate Israeli soldiers,
which Netanyahu had expressly forbidden in agreeing to the UN inquiry.
Jordana Horn and Yaakov Katz contributed to this report.