Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced Sunday that a retired high court judge, Jacob Turkel, will head the committee of inquiry into the raid on the Turkish aid ship Mavi Marmara.

At a meeting of Likud ministers, the prime minister said he had notified US President Barack Obama of the plans. 

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Also Sunday morning, in a statement to his cabinet, Netanyahu said that "Before the flotilla set sail for Gaza, we discussed – in various forums – the continuation of our policy toward the Gaza Strip.  These discussions continued last week, inter alia, in the meetings I held on the subject with Quartet envoy Tony Blair."

"The principle guiding our policy is clear – to prevent the entry of war materiel into Gaza and to allow the entry of humanitarian aid and non-contraband goods into the Gaza Strip. The aforementioned discussions, which will continue this week, are designed to ensure that this principle is effectively applied.
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Also on Sunday, in an interview with Fox News, United States UN Ambassador Susan Rice said the US believes Israel can conduct a "credible and impartial" investigation into the Mavi Marmara incident, but that an "international component" would make it more credible in the eyes of the international community.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak was forced to cancel his participation in the French arms show "Eurosatory 2010" where he was due to open the Israeli section. 

Barak canceled his attendance as a result of the need to prepare for the committee of inquiry and because of threats by pro-Palestinian groups to have him arrested for "war crimes" related to the  raid on the Gaza-bound flotilla.

Meanwhile Minister of Welfare Isaac Herzog, has warned the government that a meeting of the EU foreign ministers is taking place in the next few days and that if Israel wants to head off an international inquiry, it must take a quick decision establishing the committee of inquiry.   He added that "we must let go of our feeling of being under siege and move on."

Former high court judge Jacob Turkel, who is to head the inquiry, is seventy-five years old. He served as a high court judge from 1995-2005.


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