UNHRC names flotilla probe c'tee

Israel decides to return 'Mavi Marmara' and other ships to Turkey.

By JPOST.COM STAFF,
July 23, 2010 17:52
2 minute read.
flotilla

311_Mavi Marmara side. (photo credit: Associated Press)

 The UN Human Rights Council Friday named the team of international experts who will investigate the May 31 raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in which 9 pro-Palestinian activists were killed by IDF naval commandos.

The UN announced in a statement that the committee will comprise Sir Desmond de Silva from Britain, Karl Hudson-Phillips from Trinidad and Tobago and Mary Shanthi Dairiam from Malaysia.

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The UN Human Rights Council voted last month to form the investigative committee to inquire into possible violations of international law committed by Israel during the raid.

MK Otniel Schneller (Kadima) criticized the appointment of the committee, stating that the only thing the UNHRC should be investigating is Hamas for kidnapping IDF soldier Gilad Schalit and keeping him prisoner in Gaza.

"I would expect the UNHRC to do its job and worry about human rights. Gilad Schalit is being held as a prisoner in violation of all international laws. The UN should investigate the effectiveness of its committees in building trust and promoting peace in the Middle East."

Israel is already carrying out an internal investigation into the incident which is being led by the Turkel Committee.

The Foreign Ministry released a statement on Friday saying that the UNHRC committee is unnecessary as the Turkel Committee is sufficient and completely transparent to the UN.



The statement added that the appointment of the international committee is evidence of the UN's "continuing obsession" with Israel.

Israel decides to return Mavi Marmara to Turkey

Israel decided to return the ships that took part in the May 31 Gaza-bound flotilla to Turkey, including the Mavi Marmara, on Friday to prevent further deterioration in relations between the two countries.

As part of the return agreement, Israel received an agreement from Turkey that the ships would not participate in any future flotillas to Gaza.

The IHH, which organized the ships of the flotilla, was demanding last week that Israel provide tug boats to tow the ships back to Turkey, according to Turkish daily Hurriyet.

“Israel has long been dragging its feet and made public that it will not give the ships back unless the commission inquiry is concluded. I think the process will last four or five months,” said Salih Bilici of the IHH.

“We are only an NGO and how influential can we be? Turkey at every occasion demands the return of the vessels,” Bilici told Hurriyet.

Hurriyet reported that in past cases, Israel has required assurances only from the organizers which send ships to Gaza, but this time Israel is asking for assurances from Turkey.



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