Defense Minister Ehud Barak's office announced Sunday that he would stay in Israel while the government establishes a committee to investigate the raid on the Gaza-bound flotilla.

Barak was set to dedicate a new Israeli booth at the Eurosatory 2010 Air Salon in Paris, which opens this week. He was also slated to meet high-ranking French officials, including French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner.

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Pro-Palestinian activists had threatened to try to have charges brought in Europe against Barak and other Israeli officials under the principle of universal jurisdiction.

That principle allows the prosecution of suspected war criminals in countries that have no direct connection with the events.

In addition, former navy commander and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) head Ami Ayalon called on Barak to "accept responsibility for the consequences of the decision to raid [last week's Gaza-bound] flotilla."

Speaking on Israel Radio, Ayalon said the government showed "poor decision making" and that "the blockade became the policy objective instead of the means to achieve the objective."

He criticized Barak for spearheading Israel's strong-arm policy without regard for the need for international support.


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