(photo credit: AP)
Israel has yet to formally announce the make-up of a probe to
investigate the flotilla episode not because of US displeasure with the
proposed format, but rather because of a desire by both countries to
wait until after the UN Security Council voted on Iran sanctions, The
Jerusalem Post has learned.
RELATED:We need an international inquiry – without US 'Israel agrees to ease blockade'
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met again Wednesday with his inner
cabinet, a forum known as the septet, and discussed the probe, but yet
again delayed formally announcing the establishment of a committee.
UNSC approves new Iran sanctions
Government officials said the US was focused on getting the Iran sanctions it had been working on for five months through the Security Council, and did not want anything to come out just prior to the vote that might have shifted the vote of the 15 countries on the council.
The sanctions resolution passed by a vote of 12 – 2, with Lebanon
abstaining. Turkey and Brazil were the two countries that voted against.
– in his first public comments on the nature of the probe – said at an
economic conference in Tel Aviv Wednesday that it would not have the
authority to question soldiers involved in the incident, and would also
deal with questions about how extremists made their way to the deck of
the ship with weapons and pockets full of cash.
consulting with a number of actors in the international community
concerning the suitable investigative process that will lead to a
revelation of the facts regarding the flotilla," Netanyahu said.
Prime Minister said that he, his ministers and the chief of general
staff, would appear before the committee, but that the soldiers involved
in the incident would not appear before the probe.
will be the only body that will, as always, be able to investigate our
fighters," he said. "That is exactly the way it is done in the armies of
our friends in the world, and that is how we will do it as well."
IDF has established a panel of military experts, headed by Maj.-Gen.
(res.) Giora Eiland, which has already began investigating the flotilla
"I ask that all the truth come to light," Netanyahu
said, of the as-yet-to-be-established judicial probe. "Therefore, the
investigation must include answers to questions that some in the
international community want to ignore. Who was behind the extremists on
the deck of the ship? Who funded the group, how did axes, clubs,
knives and other cold weapons find their way to the deck? Why were
there large amounts of money in the pockets of those on the deck, and
who was going to get that money? The world needs to know the full
picture, and we will make sure the whole picture comes to light."
officials acknowledged that Israel was still in discussion with the US
about the probe, but that even had there been full agreement before
Wednesday's UN vote on Iran sanctions, Israel would not have announced
the establishment of the probe so as not to shift the focus from the UN.
septet is widely believed to have agreed upon the establishment of a
committee made up of jurists and diplomats, with the participation of
two international observers – one from the US and the other from an as
yet unnamed country -- to look into the legality of Israel's naval
blockade, and the manner in which Israel prevented the flotilla from
The septet's decision to establish the committee
will most likely go to the cabinet for final approval.
Israeli official said that the committee that will be established will
conform to criteria established by the UN Security Council presidential
statement issued last week after the incident. That statement called for
"a full investigation into the matter" and it called for a "prompt,
impartial, credible and transparent investigation conforming to
international standards." It stopped short, however, of calling for an
international investigation, as Turkey has demanded.
That statement called for “a full investigation into the matter” and for a “prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation conforming to international standards.”
It stopped short, however, of calling for an international investigation, as Turkey has demanded.
Former prime minister Ehud Olmert said on Wednesday it was time to “end the regime of commissions of inquiry.
“I hope the prime minister will have the courage to avoid a probe that would cause internal conflicts," Olmert said in a speech at the University of Haifa. But he warned that without a peace process, Israel will be more isolated.Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.