Israel's internal panel complains powerless in Gaza probe

Israeli panel head complained less power in an internal probe which Turkey dismissed and demanded international probe as UN offered over deadly raid into Gaza aid ships in internaional waters.

Israel's internal panel complains powerless in Gaza probe

Israeli panel head complained less power in an internal probe which Turkey dismissed and demanded international probe as UN offered over deadly raid into Gaza aid ships in internaional waters.

Israeli troops brutally killed 9 Turkish activists in the Mavi Marmara ship which Turkey still awaits Israel to return.

The panel headed by former Israeli Supreme Court justice Jacob Turkel launched its probe on Monday and served notice that Netanyahu and his defence chief may be called to testify about the May 31 killings.

It will include two other Israelis -- an international law expert and a former general -- and two non-voting foreign observers: David Trimble, a Northern Ireland politician and Nobel Peace Prize winner, and Canadian jurist Ken Watkin.

There has been widespread public outrage in Turkey over Israel's murders of citizens.

Turkey has withdrawn its ambassador, cancelled joint military exercises, and called for Israel to end its blockade of 1.5 million Palestinians.

"Request for more power"

The Israeli statement published on Tuesday, said Turkel had filed "a request to broaden the authorities of the committee (investigating) with respect to the ability to require witnesses to appear before it and give testimony under oath."

"There is no reason not to give positive consideration to this request," it said, adding that ministers would also weigh a separate appeal to expand the number of members on the panel, and soon ask the Israeli cabinet to render a formal decision.

Due to the limited scope of the inquiry, the panel's mandate, as stipulated, did not appear to pose a threat to Netanyahu's political survival as it did not include an examination of his government's decision-making role in the raid.

Instead, it will examine "whether Israel's Gaza blockade and the flotilla's interception conformed with international law and also investigate the actions taken by the convoy's organisers and participants".

Netanyahu has said soldiers and officers who took part in the raid or planned the operation would not testify before the commission.

The panel would be able to use testimony given to a separate military board reviewing operational details of the assault. The civilian commission will publish a report, but it was not immediately clear when it would issue its findings.

Turkey's often calls on Israel to accept the international probe into the deadly raid.

Israel refused a proposal by U.N. Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon for the international investigation.

The U.N. chief had suggested establishing a panel that would be headed by former New Zealand prime minister Geoffrey Palmer and include representatives from Turkey, Israel and the United States, an Israeli official said earlier in Jerusalem.

Turkey's Foreign Minister dismissed internal Israeli probe, saying "The fact that a defendant is both prosecutor and judge, constitutes contradiction to law."

Ahmet Davutoglu also said an international participation in commission that will be established by Israel would not be an international one.


Agencies

Related news reports:

Turkey still awaits Israel to return Gaza aid ships

Turkish autopsy: Israeli soldiers shot activists from choppers

Turkey to sue Israel for Gaza aid victims - UPDATED

Israel probe members "embarrass US"

Güncelleme Tarihi: 30 Haziran 2010, 16:10

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