Micha Lindenstrauss 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
The Knesset State Control Committee decided on Monday to give the government a
week to decide how it will investigate the bloody seizure of the Turkish
passenger ship Mavi Marmara and of five other vessels trying to break the
Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.
It decided to reconvene next week to
decide whether to call for an investigation of the affair by State Comptroller
Micha Lindenstrauss, which could lead to a state commission of
Nine men aboard the ship were killed and more than 20 wounded
after attacking the Israeli naval commandos who boarded it.
convened to discuss a proposal by opposition MK Haim Oron (Meretz) to
Lindenstrauss to examine the affair in accordance with Paragraph 21 of
Comptroller’s Law. On the basis of the findings of the report, the State
Committee is authorized to order the establishment of a state commission
inquiry, which is appointed by the president of the Supreme Court. The
must approve the motion by majority vote.
Oron said he wanted a state
commission of inquiry to investigate the government decision-making
leading up to the boarding operation and other problems, including the
government’s failure to explain to the world, especially following news
interception and the deaths on board, the reasons for the seizure and
reasons behind the casualties among the passengers.
In explaining his
proposal, Oron told the committee that “the government caused a disaster
Israel. Of all the options at its disposal to deal with the flotilla, it
the worst one.”
Oron made it clear that he did not want to investigate the
conduct of the commandos and added that a state commission of inquiry
only way to guarantee an investigation that would be relevant to
international investigation will not be interested in the conduct of the
ministers,” he argued. “A government appointed committee of examination
focus on the soldiers.”
Committee members belonging to the coalition accused
Oron and committee chairman Yoel Hasson (Kadima) of exploiting the
the operation to attack Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense
Ehud Barak for political reasons.
“We are not sitting here out of concern
for the national interest,” charged Likud MK Ophir Akunis. “You are
heads of the prime minister and the minister of defense. I will not let
committee turn into a forum of coalition versus opposition.
The issue of
the flotilla is just a small part of the struggle that Israel is caught
Akunis accused Hasson of improperly rushing to call for a state
“What’s the big hurry?” he asked. “Let the government do
its work. It has a much broader perspective. This is a political
regret that the state comptroller has to sit here and listen to it.”
Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi), who chaired the State Control Committee in the
previous Knesset and was instrumental in appointing three state
inquiry, said he had always had wall-to-wall agreement by coalition and
opposition committee members before deciding to establish a commission
inquiry and that he had never called for one on a matter of national
that required national solidarity.
Cabinet secretary Zvi Hauser, speaking
on behalf of Netanyahu, also asked the committee to give the government
time to decide what to do. State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss told
committee that he did not require an order from it to investigate the
advised waiting a few more days to see what the government would do, and
promised to pay close attention to the feelings of the committee members
deciding whether to investigate the affair according to his own
All the coalition members, and most of the opposition MKs agreed
that the government deserved more time to decide how to handle the
But they also agreed that there was a strong need for an
investigation and that the problematic operation could not simply be
Keeping that in mind, Hasson decided to convene another meeting
next week to see what the government had done in the interim and to
the issue accordingly.