Israel Agrees to Participate in U.N. Flotilla Probe

[The following is from JTA’s column of Daily Briefs for August 2, 2010.]

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israel has agreed to participate in a United Nations investigation of the Gaza-bound Turkish flotilla incident.

“Israel has nothing to hide,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday after informing U.N. Secretary Ban Ki-moon that Israel would participate in the panel that he is establishing. “The opposite is true. It is in the national interest of the State of Israel to ensure that the factual truth of the overall flotilla events comes to light throughout the world, and this is exactly the principle that we are advancing.”

Netanyahu and his inner Cabinet of seven ministers made the decision to participate in the international probe.

Geoffrey Palmer, the former prime minister of New Zealand, and Alvaro Uribe, the outgoing president of Colombia, will serve as chair and vice chair of the panel. Its two additional members will be from Turkey and Israel.

It marks the first time that Israel will serve on a U.N. committee that is investigating its activities, according to Haaretz.

Israel’s Navy intercepted the Gaza-bound flotilla, which originated in Turkey, on May 31, when violence on the deck of one of the ships, the Marmara, led to the deaths of nine Turkish nationals, including one dual Turkish-American citizen.

An independent Israeli public commission chaired by retired Supreme Court Justice Jacob Turkel also is investigating the incident.

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