UN team begins Gaza flotilla probe in Jordan 30Aug10 August 31, 2010

Haaretz -  30 August 2010

A UN inquiry team started hearings on Monday with Jordanian activists about the fatal May 31 Israeli raid on a Turkish ship that was part of a flotilla trying to break an Israeli naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.

The team arrived in Amman Sunday night after eight days of hearings in Turkey. The panel is due to report back to the UN Human Rights Council during its next session, between September 13 and October 11.

“The panel, which is due to stay in Jordan until Friday, met several people over the past hours,” Badi Rafayaa, a prominent trade unionist, told German Press Agency dpa.

Rafayaa was one of 33 Jordanian activists aboard the Gaza-bound flotilla when Israeli forces raided the Mavi Marmara ship, killing nine Turkish citizens.

Rafayaa said he was scheduled to testify Tuesday afternoon.

Rafayaa said that the UN panel will also meet in Amman with two Arab activists from Israel – MK Hanin Zuabi (Balad) and Mohammad Zeidan, director general of the Arab Association of Human Rights – who were aboard the Turkish vessel when the Israeli attack occurred.

The fact-finding mission is chaired by Karl Hudson-Phillips, former judge of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague.

Israel has refused cooperation with the team, claiming it lacked neutrality.

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