Maj.-Gen. (res.) Giora Eiland gave a five-hour, closed-door testimony at the Turkel Committee Tuesday, which is investigating the IDF's raid on the Gaza-bound Turkish Mavi Marmara aid ship.
According to a committee representative, Eiland responded with lengthy and extended answers to all questions posed by the committee and observers, and focused extensively on the issues which arose in the IDF report he led.
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Head of the committee, Retired Judge Yaakov Turkel, requested Eiland gather additional evidence and materials to help "complete the picture" of the incident.
In the report submitted to the chief of general staff in July, Eiland determined that errors were discovered in the intelligence gathering and in the planning of the IDF operation on the Marmara. Eiland refrained from publicizing his personal conclusions on which senior IDF officers were responsible for the shortcomings, and stressed that he did not investigate the political leadership or the Mossad, based on the mandate he was given.
The report revealed that the chief of general staff warned Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak that the military option against the Turkish ship was the least desirable alternative. Eiland discovered that errors were made at the upper echelons of the IDF, yet did not conclude that negligence was involved in the case.
Some of the errors included the lack of an alternative plan once violent
resistance was encountered by the commandos who attempted to board the
ship. Regarding intelligence, Eiland concluded that mistakes were made
in the process of gathering information on the Marmara
, in the
assessment of the information collected, and in not fully optimizing all
the intelligence gathering capabilities, such as the use of an
undercover operative working on-board the ship.
After the testimonies of senior military and government officials,
including the prime minister, defense minister, and IDF chief of general
staff, Judge Advocate General Maj.-Gen. Avihai Mandelbilt will testify
at the Turkel Committee this week as well.
Eiland was praised by the committee for his appearance and testimony.