Bibi, Barak to testify before TUrkel commission 13Jul10 July 15, 2010

Palestine Note  -  13 July 2010

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will testify next month before the Turkel Commission investigating the May 31 flotilla raid, AFP News Agency reported Tuesday.

Washington – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will testify next month before the Turkel Commission investigating the May 31 flotilla raid, AFP News Agency reported Tuesday.

The testimony is set for August 9, and Defense Minister Ehud Barak and military Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi will follow the next days after. The testimonies will also reportedly be in public and under oath.

“The commission is currently receiving and studying the necessary documents as part of its preparations to hear the aforesaid testimony,” said a statement issued by the Turkel Commission.

The panel was established to look into the events surrounding the May 31 Israeli raid of a flotilla of ships attempting to carry aid through the Gaza naval blockade to determine if Israel has violated international law through its actions on the high seas or through its blockade of Gaza. The raid of one flotilla vessel – the Turkish-owned Mavi Marmara – resulted in the death of nine passengers, including eight Turkish citizens and one American, and the serious injury of several Israeli commandos.

The commission is comprised of three veteran judges, headed by retired justice Jacob Turkel, and also includes two international observers.

The Turkel Commission has been pursuing its investigation in parallel with an internal military probe. The results of the military probe were released yesterday. Though the chief investigator, Giora Eiland, found several high-level mistakes, mainly concerning lapses in coordination and communication, overall he said the use of deadly force aboard the Mavi Marmara was justified.

The Turkel Commission will be privy to these results in their own decision-making, but as of now Ashkenazi is the only military official the panel will be allowed to question. A decision yesterday by an Israeli court ruled to further widen the scope of the Turkel commission, saying it would now consider requests for interrogations of military personnel.


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