(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The state asked the High Court of Justice on Sunday to reject a petition by the
left-wing political movement Gush Shalom calling for the dissolution of the
government- appointed Turkel Commission to examine the May 31 flotilla seizure
by the IDF and replace it with a state commission of inquiry.
final response before Tuesday’s court hearing, the state wrote that the
petitioners are now arguing that the problem with the commission is that it
lacks the power to summon soldiers and other security officers to testify before
Last week, the government agreed to expand the powers of the
commission to include the right to subpoena witnesses, order them to
documents or other evidence before the commission, have them testify
and the right to question witnesses abroad.
However, the commission’s
added prerogatives do not include the right to question soldiers and
In its response, the state argued that there is also a military
committee, headed by Maj.- Gen. (res.) Giora Eiland, which was appointed
conduct an investigation of the operational aspects of the seizure of
Marmara and six other boats headed for the Gaza Strip.
Commission will be given the summaries of all the investigations
the Eiland Committee. If it feels it needs more information, it is
ask the Eiland Committee to investigate the soldiers and security
obtain the information it needs.
"There is great importance in keeping
the rule which says that investigations of fighters regarding their role
operational actions are conducted in the framework of a military
nothing else. The rule is meant to guarantee that soldiers will talk as
as possible… It is vital to make sure they do not hesitate and that they
speak freely about the operations in which they participated,” the
The head of Gush Shalom, Uri Avnery, reacted, saying that
“the principle of the sanctity of the military debriefing as described
government is an absolutely new argument. Nothing like it has ever been
Israel’s history and, as far as I know, in the history of any other